by Sam Hieb
I’ve taken note of retired UNCG professor Tom Kirby-Smith’s views on the N&R ed page and on social media for quite some time —-let’s just say I wouldn’t regard him as a conservative.
So with that in mind, his recent letter to the editor regarding the NYT analysis of Greensboro police traffic stops was most interesting:
Susan Ladd’s column Wednesday was largely an endorsement of the front-page piece in the Sunday New York Times claiming discriminatory treatment of blacks by Greensboro’s police department. The lengthy Times article gave an impression of great thoroughness.
….But there are things included and things omitted from the Times article that make its treatment of Greensboro unfair. And the reporters give more credence to Nelson Johnson than he deserves. A reference to the Klan-Nazi shootout fails to note that some of the communists who were killed were armed with pistols. Also, the reference to the National Guard’s activity is misleadingly brief.
Also omitted are numerical statistics about New York’s own stop-and-frisk policy. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union compiles these from New York Police Department records. A summary of what they found reads: “An analysis by the NYCLU revealed that innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics.”
Kirby-Smith adds “It is quite strange that Greensboro should simultaneously be under attack from many within the state for being too liberal and progressive and pilloried at such length in the New York Times as being a stronghold of residual racism.” I’ll go with the former; liberals have been in charge here in Gboro for quite some time now. While in theory GPD is insulated from city politics, Chief Wayne Scott’s vision and-strategies—-including an emphasis on community policing—reflect that liberal point of view. Guess Chief Scoot needs to double down on those strategies. Meanwhile guys like ‘Supreme’ Walker—-the one-time death row inmate and getaway driver Isaiah Fox’s early October crime spree— loves calling Gboro home.