Tuesday, July 24, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            When his nomination to become a special superior court judge, pushed back to the very end, was finally heard by the North Carolina House on June 28th, Bryan E. Beatty, an African-American, and former State Bureau of Investigations director and former NC Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, was referred to in clearly unflatteringly terms by his House Republican sponsor on the floor as “…a former employee of the state Department of Justice.”
            That, and apparently a House Republican Caucus meeting earlier that morning that the House had to recess for shortly after ratifying two white judicial nominees, is how Gov. Roy Cooper’s nomination of Sec. Beatty went down in partisan, and some say “racial,” flames.
            And thus far, not one Republican House member has come forward to say why, even when asked for this story.
            Black leaders and state Democrats are calling how Beatty was treated “pettiness at an all-time high,” not only for it’s racial implications, but clear evidence of animus towards yet another Democratic governor. 
            “[It was]…quite blatant,” remarked Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP.
            “It was shameful and disrespectful,” echoed Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford)
For his part, though he was upset with how he was treated, Sec. Beatty, who has over thirty years law enforcement experience with the state, refuses to theorize why Republican majority lawmakers in the House voted down his judicial nomination, 65 – 47, without stated reason.
            “Yes, I was very surprised, and disappointed when they voted not to confirm,” the Salisbury native said in an exclusive phone interview last week.
Beatty says Gov. Cooper asked him personally in May if he would consider serving as a special superior court judge, with a five-year term, and if so the governor would nominate the former secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety to fill a vacancy created in March. But Cooper warned that the legislature had the final word.
Beatty accepted, and on May 23rd, the Governor’s Office officially announced that Beatty, along with Chief District Court Judge J. Stanley Carmical of Robeson County – a white male – and Chief District Court Judge Athena Brooks of Buncombe County – a white female and a Republican – were judicial nominees. A letter was sent to Republican legislative leadership formally nominating the governor’s picks.
            “These nominees bring extensive experience in our justice system to these new roles and are highly qualified to serve as Special Superior Court judges,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement then.
            Two of the three nominees were interviewed by the House Rules Committee, the Senate Nominations Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee just prior to their nominations being voted on June 28thin the House {Judge Brooks couldn’t make the Senate Judiciary Committee interview). 
            Beatty recalls each committee being “very cordial, very supportive.”
            All three were to be confirmed by separate House Joint Resolutions, sponsored by Republican Rep. David Lewis of Harnett, who is Rules Committee chair, and also heads up the House’s controversial voter ID and redistricting efforts.
            On the morning of June 28th, according to an archived recording of that House session, after a glowing introduction by Lewis on the floor, Both Brooks and Carmical were confirmed by wide margin votes (Judge Brooks’ confirmation vote was unanimous). 
But strangely, Beatty’s nomination was skipped over and never mentioned.
            In fact, shortly after Brooks and Carmical were ratified, Speaker Moore immediately announced, “Members, we’re going to take a very brief recess, and we’re going to come back at 11 a.m.” 
            Moore added that the Republican majority leader Bell told him that the Republican members “…need to caucus.”
            When the House session reconvened, Sec. Beatty’s nomination was finally introduced as the very last bill to hit the floor.
But instead of giving the usual glowing appeal to support a measure he sponsored, the House archival recording actually shows Rep. Lewis downplaying Beatty’s accomplishments and qualifications to be a special superior court judge, calling the former state secretary and Cabinet officer, “…a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a former employee of the North Carolina Dept. of Justice, the State Bureau of Investigation, NC Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety, and most recently, a commissioner of the NC Utilities Commission.”
After noting that the governor has nominated Beatty to fill one of the three vacancies for special superior court judge, Rep. Lewis ended in low-key delivery with a lackluster, “I recommend him to you.”
Lewis’ introduction of Beatty’s nomination was so lackluster, that House Democratic Minority Leader Darren Jackson immediately took the floor, and spoke “wholeheartedly” about Sec. Beatty’s background and qualifications, including that he once served as an SBI agent, graduated law school, in private practice, assistant state attorney general, state inspector general, deputy attorney general, director of the State Bureau of Investigations, secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, and finally served on the state Utilities Commission.
“He’s extremely well-qualified,’ Rep. Jackson concluded.
But to no avail. Without any objections from the Republican House majority, Beatty’s nomination was sounded voted down.
Thirteen Republican House members were asked early Monday by email to explain why they voted against Bryan Beatty’s judicial nomination. None of them – including Rep. Lewis and Speaker Moore – responded to our request for comment.
“What the Republicans did behind closed doors was a disservice,” said Sen. Erica Smith (D – Bertie), char of the NC Legislative Black Caucus. It was definitely something that was unprecedented.”
Beatty says he understands why “people are upset…why they would be that way.”
He added that he “was ready to serve,” and lamented that there is a superior court vacancy that has gone unfilled.
And if Gov. Cooper called again and asked Bryan Beatty to come out of retirement to serve in another appointed position, Beatty said, “Oh yeah. Whatever the governor needed me to do.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Attorneys for a 29-year old black man have filed a civil complaint with the NC Industrial Commission in connection with the April 4thbrutal beating and mauling he received at the hands of two NC State troopers, and a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and his K-9 dog.
            Kyron Dwain Hinton, through his attorneys, is holding the NC Dept. of Public Safety responsible for the actions of the two troopers – Tabitha Davis and Michael Blake on the night of April 3rdin Raleigh.
            Both have been indicted on felony assault charges, and subsequently have been fired.
            Their supervisor, Sgt. R. W. Goswick, was placed on administrative leave after audio from a police dashcam at the scene captured him urging the two troopers to cover the beating up.
            "[Sgt] Goswick told them specifically what to put in [their reports],” a Wake Superior Court judge said during a June hearing. “Ordered them. If you listen to his order, his order didn’t tell him to write the report. His order was 'this is what we're going to put in the report, everybody agree on that', essentially.”
            The Wake Sheriff’s deputy, Cameron Broadwell, was not named in the complaint because he works for a county agency. He was also indicted by a Wake County grand jury on May 15th, and is on administrative duties until further notice.
            Dashcam video from the night of April 4th showed at least two North Carolina State troopers, and a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy with a K-9 dog attacking Kyron Dwain Hinton.
            Hinton, the video shows, was unarmed, even though officers at the scene were told that he had a gun before they arrived. No gun was ever found.
            Hinton sustained a broken nose, fractured eye socket, and several dog bite injuries after the encounter, and spent three days in the hospital before being transported to the Wake County jail. Charges against him were eventually dropped.
            Defense attorneys for the troopers also petitioned for Kyron Hinton’s medical records to be kept intact, trying to build a case that he had a mental disorder, and
history of drug use. Advocates for Hinton says he suffers from PTSD.
            The complaint filed Tuesday morning with the NC Industrial Commission alleges that the two troopers filed to detain the unarmed Hinton in a manner that would have minimized injuries.
            The complaint also alleges that Trooper Blake had already been accused of using excessive force in 2015, and again in 2016, and again in yet another incident involving a Raleigh motorist, just a week before the Hinton incident.


            [RALEIGH] Fearing that a Democratic-led panel responsible for ballot language would somehow tinker with how their six proposed constitutional amendments would be worded during this November’s midterm elections, the Republican-led General Assembly reconvened briefly Tuesday to pass HB 3, which would limit ballot captions only to “CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT” with no further explanation beyond what the original bill reads.
            The second bill passed would strip a Republican state Supreme court candidate of his party affiliation on the ballot because he was a former Democrat who changed parties just before entering the race,. The GOP feared that he would take votes away from the incumbent Supreme court candidate. Attorney Anita Earls is the Democrat in the race.

            [DURHAM] After being notified by the American Bar Association that it was “significantly out of compliance” with established ABA standards after it logged low student passage rates, forcing former dean, Phyliss Craig-Taylor to step down after six years, the ABA has granted the School of Law at North Carolina Central University it’s accreditation. The school put forth a plan to raise admission standards and reduce the incoming freshman class. It also appointed former Judge Elaine O’Neal as an interim dean.

            [RALEIGH] As is across the nation, law enforcement officials say white supremacist gangs are growing in size and violence in North Carolina. According to a spokesman for the NC Department of Public Safety, it is an “unexpected” trend, the rise of white racist groups across the state, and it’s being closely monitored. The spokesman added that they are not sure “what’s causing it.” One group officials have their eye on is called “Bound for Glory.” Other, more established groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan nation, are also on the rise again, primarily in state prisons.


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