The City of Greensboro has reached a settlement agreement with a group of former and current members of the Greensboro Police Department who filed a series of federal lawsuits accusing the City of racial discrimination. The settlement resolves a significant portion of the outstanding cases filed against the police department in the mid-2000s.
The plaintiffs in the settlement include those involved in both Alexander vs. City of Greensboro cases and the Fulmore vs. City of Greensboro case. Former Greensboro police officers Charles Cherry and Joseph Pryor elected not to enter into the settlement agreement. The agreement does not resolve the Cherry and Pryor claims, the case involving Police Captain James Hinson, and former Police Chief David Wray’s claim for attorney’s fees.
Terms of the agreement include a $500,000 payment by the City to the plaintiffs, a release of claims made against the City, and a release of claims against individual defendants – including Wray and former City Councilmember Trudy Wade, among others. As a condition of the settlement, the City has not admitted liability in any of the cases.
According to Greensboro Mayor Robbie Perkins, the City is confident it would have prevailed through the court system. However, Perkins indicates that City Council voted 6-3 in favor of the settlement offering to begin the process of moving on from the cases. “These cases represent a time in the history of the City and police department when some unfortunate actions on the part of the City and plaintiffs occurred,” says Perkins. “Certainly, under new police leadership and a commitment to ensuring integrity and professionalism within the department, the confidence in the Greensboro police has been restored. But, it’s important that we settle these issues from the past and focus on the great work our police department and its leadership are doing today.”
Greensboro City Manager Denise Turner Roth says the City has improved its internal and external relationships with a goal of creating a positive environment around the police department. “In recent years we have taken strategic steps within our promotional and internal investigative processes that have made our department stronger,” says Turner Roth. “From a service standpoint, those changes have reaped many benefits as recent survey results indicate that better than 80 percent of our residents are pleased with the work of the police department. Having the right leadership and internal processes in place ensures that we’re getting the kind of results needed to keep our community safe.”
Among the internal changes implemented, the police department has revised its promotional, investigative, and disciplinary processes since 2011. In addition, the department has implemented more than 200 of 226 specific recommendations offered in a 2008 management and staffing study completed by Carroll Buracker and Associates.
“Much of my focus has been placed on creating better connectedness with our community and building trust in the police department both inside and out,” says Miller. “We hold ourselves to a high standard. I’m confident that the measures we’ve taken to better our department are having the desired impact and we’re continuing to grow stronger every day.”
The City works with the community to improve the quality of life for residents through inclusion, diversity, and trust. As the seventh largest employer in Greensboro, the City has a professional staff of about 3,000 employees who maintain the values of honesty, integrity, stewardship, and respect. The City is governed by a council-manager form of government with a mayor and eight council members. For more information on the City, visit www.greensboro-nc.gov or call 373-CITY (2489).