GREENSBORO, NC – An anonymous letter, alleging racial disparities within the Greensboro Police Department was sent to the Chief and members of the city council.
The anonymous, unsigned letter, accuses Chief Wayne Scott, of having a lack of minority officers in the department, having a lack of leadership within the department and allowing inconsistent allocation of internal discipline.
A spokesperson with the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) said, “The letter is anonymous, it was not delivered to the Chief. It was delivered by a third party and has gross inaccuracies from people I guess who are dissatisfied with the Chief.
Chief Scott issued the following statement to WFMY News 2:
“I am in receipt of the anonymous document you referenced. A copy of this document was provided to me from a third party outside of the department: it was not given to me by any GPD employee.
The anonymous document contains gross inaccuracies and does not reflect the many extensive efforts by me and the men and women of this department to communicate and strengthen relationships both in our community and within our organization.
The job of Chief of Police is extremely challenging. I must make difficult decisions, some of which may not be popular with all employees. However, I am confident that ultimately I have acted in the best interests of our employees, the communities we serve, and this city.”
Councilwoman Sharon Hightower, who is mentioned in the letter, confirmed all council members and Mayor Nancy Vaughan received copies of the letter. Hightower said it was dismissed by some members of the council because it was unsigned.
“Just because something is not signed, does not discount its contents,” Hightower said. “So, I think we as a council have a responsibility to at least address the concerns in it and the validity of it.”
The letter starts with “When issues and complaints arise regarding the current principles and culture of the Greensboro Police Department, it is the responsibility of officers affected to ask questions and raise concerns regarding problems in the workplace. The most fundamental or essential ethical issues that we must face are integrity and trust. The Greensboro Police Department must strive to protect and serve the community with honesty and a commitment to continually treat every citizen fairly. This concept should also equally apply internally to each of its officers.”
While the letter is unsigned, Hightower confirmed it was former and/or current personnel. GPD also refused to release a copy of the letter, because "it is a personnel issue.”
However, Hightower forwarded WFMY News 2 a copy of the letter which she said has some validity.
“I believe wholeheartedly,” Hightower explained. “I don’t think you would have received an 8-page detailed document without validity.”
The letter continues, stating “D.W. Scott was sworn in as the 22nd Police Chief of Greensboro in March of 2015. There was notable opposition and a lack of transparency in the determining actors that guided the selection process of the final two candidates to include Scott and an African-American female candidate from Oakland, CA. As the newly appointed police chief began his opening press conference, demonstrators and community activists began chanting ‘Wayne Scott Bad Choice.’”
Hightower was mentioned in the letter, as one of those opposed to Scott’s selection.
“The part that I am in is correct. I did appear in a press conference the day the chief was selected, was scheduled to do a press conference because I had concerns then about the selection of the chief,” said Hightower. “I just don’t believe that he’s the right person for the job. I don’t say he’s not a police officer, spent 25 years in the field, knowledgeable, obvious experience, but sometimes that knowledge and experience doesn’t translate into leadership.”
"LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN MINORITY COMMUNITY"
The letter continues, stating Scott’s 20 plus years of service with the Greensboro Police Department “inadequately prepared him to develop and maintain consistent minority contact in the community.” The letter alleges this is because of a lack of minority officers and a lack of interaction with the minority community as a police officer.
Another complaint against the chief states “Scott has not made any intent or direct contact with his minority officer as a whole to identify and address concerns specific to their needs and desires. He routinely meets the Greensboro Police Officers Association (GPOA) which is predominately white and misrepresents this body with no governing power as the general voice and opinion of how his leadership goals are received.”
"LACK OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP"
The letter alleges Chief Scott has little knowledge on how to make certain programs, like Neighborhood Oriented Policing, successful. It also alleges “over the past year, internal morale has been on a steady decline due to sweeping changes in the department.,”
Hightower referenced this in a phone conversation with WFMY News 2.
“I will tell you that there is low morale within that department. I don’t think we can ignore it any longer.”
"INCONSISTENT ALLOCATION OF INTERNAL DISCIPLINE"
This section alleges Chief Scott gave inappropriate punishments to officers, in particular, black female officers.
One allegation includes, “A black female officers reported an assault by a white male officer (not in a relationship) while off duty. The female officer received minor injuries as a result of the assault. The male officer was disciplined accordingly however, Chief Scott seized upon the opportunity to also discipline the victimized female. Ultimately, the female received the same punishment, which consisted of several days of suspension.”
The letter ends with section alleging lack of compassion and understanding from the Chief, as well as a request for “a change in leadership.”
While the letter is anonymous and unsigned and Chief Scott has dismissed the claims. However, Hightower said she plans to ask the City Manager to investigate the validity of the letter.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan could not be reached for comment.