Monday, June 29, 2020



[WILMINGTON] Mike Adams, the controversial UNC-W professor accused of making inflammatory sexist and racist comments on his social media, has agreed to retire from the university as of August 1st, the school announced this week. It was a May 29th Twitter post where Adams used slave imagery to chide Gov. Cooper for his COVID -19 restrictions that North Carolina “a slave state.” Adams then followed with “Massa Cooper, let my people go.” The call for Adams to be dismissed got national attention.

[RALEIGH] In a 1 a.m. vote last Friday morning before adjourning, the NC General Assembly approved $1.5 million for the proposed NC Freedom Park. The bill has since been sent to Gov. Cooper for his signature. The park honoring Black North Carolinians and how they contributed to the history of this state will be constructed on Lane Street at Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh between the Executive Mansion and the Legislative Building. The park was designed by the late architect Phillip Freelon.

[WILMINGTON] Demonstrators have gotten their wish. City government removed two confederate monuments from the downtown area in the early morning hours of June 25th. One was a statue honoring George Davis. Another was a memorial to Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War. The city had earlier put curfews around the monuments to protect them from vandalism.


By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

When three racist white Wilmington police officers were accidentally recorded last month calling black citizens, black police officers, and black demonstrators n-words, even discussing the possibility of a race war to “slaughter,” and in the words of one officer, “…wipe ‘em off the f****ng map,” Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams, an African-American himself, took it personally.
“It was racially offensive to me, the 29-year WPD veteran told The Journal. “I don’t know any other way about it, and it was also racially offensive to people who are not black. It was just outright wrong, and disgusting.”
Those longtime officers were not only publicly fired, but banished like a bad memory, and Chief Williams made sure to it.
Those racist officers severely tarnished the city, and police department that Donny Williams loves, and on his very first day as permanent chief, he stood strong in denouncing they actions, and standing up for the values he wanted Wilmington and the world to see he cherished without apology.
“It was just outright wrong, and disgusting,” he insisted to The Journal in his very first interview the day after his explosive June 24th press conference.
That reaction to anyone who knows Williams should come as no surprise. The veteran officer is Wilmington born-and-bred. First from Wilmington’s public housing (son of a single mother in the Creekside housing Community), and first from the police academy, to now lead the city’s main law enforcement agency.
“This is my home,” the married father of two says proudly. “I was born here. There are great people in this community.”
And it didn’t hurt any five months ago when his predecessor, Ralph Evangelous, wholeheartedly endorsed his former assistant chief taking over as interim.
“For the past year and a half, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Assistant Chief Williams help to lead the Wilmington Police Department,” Evangelous said in an outgoing statement. “His hard work and commitment to community policing continues to be an asset to our agency. I’m confident he will continue to move this agency forward, while focusing on the safety and well-being of our citizens.”
“Personally I feel honored and essentially humbled that the City Council would trust me with such a large and awesome responsibility, and by the support that the residents of the city have given me,” Williams, the first black police chief in the Port City’s modern history, continued. “It’s been overwhelming for me and my family.”
“I may adopt some of the things the prior chief had established, and he was very big in technology, being on the cutting edge, and [adopting] best practices,” Williams continued.
         “But I also want to put my own stamp on things, and given what’s happening right now [in policing], I want to lead a team that’s progressive, and do community policing with a different look to it. I want to accomplish the mission, but do it in a way that is very inclusive.”
Serving the community of Wilmington; protecting the community of Wilmington. That has been the personal and professional mission of Donny Williams ever since he became a police cadet in 1990, formally graduating to sworn officer in December 1992.
As The Journal stated in a Feb. 6th, 2020 editorial after Williams began as interim police chief after Ralph Evangelous retired, “…beyond being an officer, a police captain, a deputy chief over Special and Criminal Investigations, and overseeing the department’s largest Patrol division, Chief Williams has always made time for our community’s youth, working to expand the Police Activities League (PAL) enrolling over 500 young people per year.”
The Journal editorial continued, “Chief Williams meets all of the requirements of experienced, and educated leadership, with a BA from Mt. Olive College in Management and Organizational Development. He is also a graduate of the Administrative Officer’s Management Program at NC State University, [and] completed the 75th Session of Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police.”
  “And last, but certainly not least, Chief Williams oversaw the design, development,  and completion of the Haynes - Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility,” the editorial concluded.
During the recent demonstrations in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, Chief Williams left his office, went to the streets, and joined protestors, publicly agreeing that even as a lawman,  Floyd’s tragic and senseless death was intolerable.
Now, in the midst of dramatic social justice and police reform, how does Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams envision his challenge to balance keeping the community safe, while simultaneously maintaining a strong bond of trust with young people and the African-Americas community?
We have to connect police officers with the people, and once you make those connections, our officers, and the people they serve, are going to have to sit down and have honest conversations,” Williams told The Journal. “Officers that are assigned neighborhoods that are primarily African-American, we’re going to have to get both groups together. Also groups that are Hispanic, are white, or combined neighborhoods.”
         “It’s all about people communicating with people,” Chief Williams said.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

After a dramatic week when three white veteran Wilmington police officers were unceremoniously fired after it was revealed they were caught on a recording making racist, derogatory, and undeniably threatening remarks regarding African-Americans, and what they wanted to do to them, citizens are left wondering, “Are there more?”
“ I'm alarmed that these individuals were hired to "protect and serve” the same citizens they spoke about in a threatening and intimidating manner,” said Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County NAACP. “My concern is these are the three who were caught. How many more lurk behind the blue, not only at WPD, but across this state and nation?” 
Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams, lauded for taking the bold step of not only terminating the three officers on his first full day as the Port City’s permanent police chief (Williams is a 30-year veteran of WPD, and had served four months as interim before being officially named June 24th), but also displaying unusual transparency in revealing virtually every detail about just how vile and hideous the officers’ behavior was, says for now, the inadvertent police recordings only point to the three fired.
“Those are the only ones we could determine and prove,” Williams assured.
But if there are other current members of the Wilmington Police Department who are as disgruntled or racially biased as the three he kicked out the door last week, Chief Williams, an African-American, has a serious message for them.
“I’ll be honest…if any officer that’s out there has the same views that [those three officers displayed] they need to do me a favor, their sheriff, their patrol commander, whatever agency they work for …do us all a favor as law enforcement leaders, and leave the profession,” Williams said sternly. “We cannot tolerate that. There are no discriminatory biases allowed to exist in the law enforcement profession. We’re dealing with people, and we need to treat people fairly.”
“Fairly” is nowhere near how now former veteran officers Kevin Piner, James Gilmore and Jesse Moore II talked about treating black people when they were caught on an accidentally activated patrol car video camera earlier this month spewing racial hate during two conversations.
A police sergeant, doing her job by routinely auditing patrol car video, discovered a June 4th taped conversation between Piner and Gilmore, and then Piner and Moore that so alarmed her, she alerted superiors. It wasn’t long before that concern made it all the way up to then Interim Chief Williams.
Per transcripts of the offending dialogue, not only was the n-word liberally used referring to Black Lives Matter demonstrators and black police officers, but talk of a “civil war” between blacks and whites coming, and being “ready” for it.
“We are just gonna go out and start slaughtering them f****** n******. I can’t wait. God I can’t wait,” Piner told Moore, later adding that he plans to buy an assault rifle, “I’m ready.”
Piner strongly advocated for a nationwide civil war  to “…wipe ‘em off the f****** map. That’ll put ‘em back about four or five generations.”
Moore apparently wasn’t at ease with Piner’s civil war talk, but a later  taped conversation had Moore more energized about a black female he arrested the day before, someone he freely demeaned as an n-word who needed “…a bullet in her head right then and move on. Let’s move the body out of the way and keep going.”
Moore also refers to a black judge as a “f*****g negro magistrate.”
The officers also made negative reference to Chief Williams during their diatribes.
Once it was investigated, the officers hauled in and forced to admit to what they said, and then the city manager and City Council signed off on his decision, Williams decided he wasn’t having any of it.
There were “extensive violations of the department’s manual of rules and policies which include the standard of conduct, criticism, and use of inappropriate language,” the chief told reporters during a June 24th press conference.
He could have allowed them to just resign in disgrace. But no. Williams wanted the three officers fired, their behaviors fully exposed, their ability to work anywhere in Wilmington law enforcement or city government forever blocked, and past cases they testified in examined for probable racial bias and cleared.
He also notified the N.C. Criminal Justice Training and Standards Commission.
“[The conversations] were brutally offensive and deserved immediate attention,” Williams said, noting that Mayor Saffo and the City Council concurred with releasing all of the pertinent personnel information to the public. “When I first learned of these conversations, I was shocked, saddened, and disgusted. There is no place for this behavior in our agency or our city and it will not be tolerated.”
Police chiefs across the state agreed that Chief Williams did the right thing.
“What I’m most pleased about is how the city of Wilmington and it’s new police chief responded,” Colonel Glenn McNeil Jr., African-American commander of the NC Highway Patrol, told the Raleigh-Apex NAACP during a June 27th Facebook interview.
At press time, whether the actual tapes of the conversations will be released had not yet been decided on by a judge.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

If you have a nonviolent criminal record in North Carolina with misdemeanors and low-level felonies, and you’ve served your full prison sentence and paid all of your fines, you can now have those bad marks expunged, thanks to the Second Chance Act.
Governor Roy Cooper signed the long awaited bill into law last week, giving many nonviolent offenders who have paid their penance, indeed, a fresh start and second chance at rebuilding their troubled lives.
The new law automatically expunges criminal charges that are dismissed or disposed “not guilty” after Dec 1, 2021 and allows individuals to petition for expungement of all nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after 7 years of good behavior after Dec 1 2020.
Ex-offenders who also committed low-level, nonviolent crimes between the ages of 16 and 18 years of age qualify for expungement.
The “clean slate”measure, Senate Bill 562, was introduced in April 2019 by a bipartisan coalition of state senators headed by former Sen. Floyd McKissick (D-Durham). It passed the Senate unanimously, went over to the House where it stalled until last month when that body also passed it unanimously, then back over to the Senate where it was passed again on June 16th, and signed by the governor on June 25th.
“We can give people who make amends for past mistakes the opportunity to clear their records. This bill offers that opportunity and a path to good jobs and a brighter future,” said Gov. Cooper.
The bill was supported by both the NC NAACP and conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity.
One of the law’s strongest proponents was Dennis Gaddy, executive director of Community Success Initiative (CSI), a nonprofit re-entry program for ex-offenders who have served their time, and are looking to start their lives over again crime-free and more productively.
Gaddy, once a successful businessman who made some bad choices years ago, and served time in prison, has led CSI for 15 years, and has helped hundreds of former offenders find stable work. 
He says the Second Chance Act now makes it easier for exoffenders to build productive lives.


Monday, June 22, 2020



RALEIGH] As part of its response to ongoing health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, Shaw University will cancel all in-person Homecoming activities for 2020, with the exception of the Homecoming football game.
         “Our primary concern is the health and safety of the Shaw University community, as well as all the supporters who participate in Homecoming every year. Choosing to forego a beloved tradition was difficult, and while we are disappointed, we recognize that this is absolutely the right thing to do for all involved,” said Dr. Paulette Dillard, president of Shaw University.
          Homecoming typically sees thousands of alumni, students, and fans coming on campus and surrounding area venues for a week of activities. “This is a major event for the Shaw family each year, and we look forward to Homecoming 2021,” said Marilyn Baldwin Richards, vice president for Institutional Advancement.
        The Office of Alumni Relations will provide information to the classes that would have been in reunion during Homecoming 2020. Richards shared that the University is considering options for virtual engagement of alumni and fans throughout the year, and will provide more information as plans are finalized.
         Shaw’s Homecoming game versus Johnson C. Smith University is scheduled for Saturday, October 24. The Athletics Department will provide further information regarding plans for the game, related activities, and operational plans at a later date.

Monday evening, The Journal joined many other Port City residents in watching the “Community Leaders Virtual Forum on Racial Issues.” 
Sponsored by the City of Wilmington, the event was an earnest attempt to have a strong discussion about longstanding issues of race that have consistently dogged our fair city, and it’s quality of life, especially for citizens of color.
The list of racial issues is long, and yet, a visitor from outer space, tuning in to the online program in search of a community in which to land his saucer in and make his new home, would understandably come away believing that our most pressing racial issue in Wilmington is the plethora of statues we have honoring rich, dead white supremacists.
Now don’t get us wrong…we’d like to see these statues uprooted and thrown in the Cape Fear River too, where they can be constantly observed and admired by small fish and old beer bottles…but there are other priorities we can think of that would immediately enrich the African-American community here, too.
Helping low-income and elderly residents to keep their homes, for instance. Assisting small black businesses access vital capital and loans to stay afloat and create more jobs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Much needed affordable health care (and yes, Mayor Saffo…we agree that the county can, and should weigh-in to assist the city on some of this stuff).
Yes, among the 20, 30 (or was it 150) community leaders (we lost count) who participated in the event which took (believe it or not) a pure 27 minutes just for introductions, were one or two who indeed made the point that Wilmington now has the opportunity, just as other communities across the state and nation do in the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd, to bring real, tangible equity to it’s black community.
The City Council made the first step towards that goal Tuesday night, by making Donnie Williams, a Wilmington native, our permanent police chief after four long months.  There is no doubt that he is the right leader for the WPD, at the right time!
      And that time is NOW!
Secondly, Wilmington needs appoint a Citizens Police Review Board with subpoena power that can objectively investigate alleged police abuse incidents, compel testimony from witnesses and officers,  and render binding recommendations.
We heard that Chief Williams supports a CPRB, and believe us, that’s half the battle, because police chiefs normally fight tooth-and-nail against them. They don’t normally like anyone outside the police culture looking over they shoulders.
CPRBs with real power are rare in North Carolina, if not across the country, so much so that in 2015, HB 193 was introduced by Wilmington native and former Rep. Rodney Moore (D- Charlotte-Mecklenburg) to give CPRBs all the requisite powers. Predictably, it went nowhere.
That could change here in Wilmington, with enough sustained,  smart (meaning folks doing their homework) public pressure. It would certainly be a step in the right direction towards to a more just, and equal Wilmington.
Oh, by the way, in the interest of actually being more efficient, city leaders, develop a total list of participants, plan to have maybe five or six per broadcast discussing about three or four topics of racial inequities in Wilmington, and schedule the ONE HOUR broadcasts for every two weeks, instead of once a month with 150 people.

                                            MLK STATUE AND GARDENS IN RALEIGH
                                                MLK STATUE IN ROCKY MOUNT
                            GREENSBORO FOUR STATUE IN GREENSBORO

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Are black monuments, statues, historical markers and museums  across North Carolina now at risk for attack in the aftermath of the removal of confederate statues in Raleigh, and growing demands for the removal of monuments honoring historic white supremacists in other parts of the state?
When Republican state lawmakers Monday night decided to indefinitely “pause” any discussion about following the state Senate’s previous unanimous approval of $4 million in appropriations for funding black history monuments on state Capitol grounds and downtown Raleigh, it was clear they were sending a message to Gov. Cooper: “We don’t like that confederate statues were removed from Capitol grounds, and that you had a hand in it.”
We're just going to assess it this week," said House Speaker Tim Moore Monday. “I just know there's not an appetite right now to do much over there,” declared House Rules Chairman David Lewis.
The Raleigh incident  is just part of a national wave of symbols representing a racist past were being removed acrid the country by local and state governments.
It was Friday night in the driving rain when demonstrators marched to the state Capitol, and pulled down two side statues from the 75-foot Confederate Monument to the Civil War’s dead, given to the state well over a century ago. Two days later, Gov. Cooper, citing concerns for public safety, ordered all other Confederate monuments and statutes at the Capitol removed.
A 2015 state law, passed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly, prohibits the removal of any state-owned statues or monuments. 
House Republicans are livid with Gov. Cooper, who is on record for advocating the removal of the confederate statues, and at press time, were discussing exactly how to respond to the weekend’s events.
They also weren’t pleased that, for the most part, state Capitol police stood by and allowed protesters to pull down the statues.
There is little question they may use the delaying funding for the black monuments as leverage against Cooper per the Confederate statues.
Police have arrested and charged Conrad James of Raleigh with being involved in the toppling of the confederate statues. James is a black  activist who once alleged that he was used by Russian operatives to stir up black opposition to Hillary Clinton in Charlotte during the 2016 presidential elections after a police shooting,
But in the meantime, are the black history statues and sites of interest like both Martin Luther King, Jr. statues in Raleigh and Rocky Mount; the statue honoring the Greensboro Four on NC A&T University’s campus in Greensboro, as well as the International Civil Rights Museum in downtown; the various official historic markers denoting important events and people in black history in cities like Wilmington and Charlotte, at risk for vandalism, or worse?

                                                                DA'QUAN LOVE
                                                         REP. YVONNE LEWIS HOLLEY
                                                          GOV. ROY COOPER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Right now, less than five months from the crucial November 3rd general election, new polling shows North Carolina Democrats with the wind at their backs towards victory on a ballot that could deliver victories for the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, the incumbent governor, and possibly the first African-American female lieutenant governor in state history.
The question is, can the Democrats keeping that momentum going into the fall?
According to Public Policy Polling, per it’s June 4th research, Democratic president candidate Joe Biden is leading incumbent Republican Pres. Donald Trump in North Carolina 49-45 percent. That margin pretty much mirrors Biden’s lead in other key battleground states, as Trump tries to gin up the pandemic-stricken economy, and stave off criticisms of racial insensitivity after the George Floyd police killing.
No doubt the other top Democrat on the November ballot is in a commanding lead in his race, and his coattails could easily bring other prominent Democrats with him.
Incumbent Governor Roy Cooper, according to the PPP poll of June 4th, has a commanding lead towards re-election as he’s challenged by the conservative Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who trails Cooper 50-39.
Key to Gov. Cooper’s success, thus far, is his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state, and his positive response to the demonstrations in the aftermath of the George Floyd police killing. 55% of  North Carolinians polled approve of Cooper’s coronavirus management, compared to 29% disapproval.
One of those in the disapproval category is opponent Dan Forest, who blasted the Democratic governor early in the crisis for ordering the closing of restaurants, bars and nonessential businesses. Forest also bashed Cooper for not being tougher on demonstrators, and as recent as last weekend, for ordering the removal of a confederate monument in Raleigh after protesters toppled two others at the state Capitol.
Forest is pouring on the negatives to have a fighting chance.
Another major statewide race Democrats are fighting to keep the lead in, according to PPP, is the contest for US Senate between Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.
Cunningham has a slim lead over Tillis, 43-41%.
What is key in both the Biden, Cooper and Cunningham  races is how the undecideds break in each contest, and right now, they’re leaning decisively Democrat with, according to PPP, “ The undecideds for President support Roy Cooper for Governor by 43 points and Cal Cunningham for Senate by 31 points and disapprove of Trump 11/73, suggesting that they’re Democratic leaning voters who might eventually be brought into the fold.”
If the undecideds maintain their support, in addition to a strong turnout by African-American voters, then not only will Biden, Gov. Cooper and Cal Cunningham win their races, but their strong Democratic coattails could give strong assistance to Cheri Beasley, Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court in her reelection bid; and Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley, vying for lt. governor.
A strong Democratic and Democrat-leaning undecided turnout would also make an impact in turning the NC General Assembly blue again, with Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Dan Blue becoming the Senate Majority Leader.
But, as always, the Black vote, which is critical to most Democratic Party victories, will be key.
Meanwhile, the NC House Democrats, who are also positioning to take back the majority back, have appointed Da’Quan Marcell Love as the first African-American political director for the NC House Democratic Caucus.

        Love has been a part of the House Caucus team for several years, serving as the Digital Director and Deputy Finance Director.

Monday, June 15, 2020



By Cash Michaels
staff writer

The energy from the ongoing demonstrations after the police killing of George Floyd is still strong in Wilmington, with demonstrators Tuesday demanding changes in police and social service funding.
They also demanded that interim Wilmington Police Chief Donnie Williams be made permanent chief after four months in office.
the Wilmington Advocacy and Protest Organization (WAPO), presented their list of demands to the Wilmington City Council Tuesday during what they called their “Occupy the City Council Meeting” protest. 
WAPO protesters marched from the steps of City Hall to the Convention Center where the Council meeting was being held. 
Because on crowd limitation due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a few WAPO members were allowed in to the meeting, but they did present their list of demands, which included:
   1.  Five million dollars re-allocated for community-led restorative justice.
2. Citizen Review Board with subpoena power and budget power.
3. Required therapy and anonymous access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
4. Required cultural competency and training on local history.
5. Mandatory use of body cams when engaging with the public.  
6. De-prioritize misdemeanor drug offenses
7. Instate Chief Williams as official police chief.                                          Despite wanted changes to the new $35 million budget, the Council passed it without reducing any funding for the police Dept. Mayor Bill Safe said Interim Chief Williams indicated that he need an adequate funding level to maintain safety in the city.
The Council did not address Interim Chief William’s tenure.


By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

The president of the Pender NAACP wants the Pender County Schools’ Supt. Steven Hill to resign, alleging that he has tolerated white teachers “openly” using racial slurs act Pender High School since last October, but has done nothing about it.
Chapter Pres. Rev. Dante Murphy, who led a group of citizens and Black Lives Matter members to protest and speak out during the Pender County School Board meeting Tuesday night at Topsail High School in Hampstead, also alleged in a prior press release:
          - The abusive use of attorneys in covering up child sexual misconduct occurring within the schools.
          - A lack of urgency in responding and bringing closure to several allegations of misconduct occurring within the [school] system.
          -A culture of intimidation and fear by administrators speaking out against racism in the district.

        A spokesman for the Pender County Board of Education indicated that an outside law firm, Blue LLC, had been hired to conduct a third-party investigation into the racial allegations, which were first reported on Facebook by a school system employee.
The Board has also requested that the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Dept. of Education to probe the matter as well.
         Some of the signs carried by protesters at the school board meeting Tuesday night said, “What are you teaching your child that will stop them from killing mines?”; “Black Teachers Matter, Black Students Matter and should be treated with equality;” and “You Cannot Teach Black Children + Be Silent About the Injustices Against Them.”
         On Facebook later that night, Rev. Murphy posted, “Thanks Pender County for standing strong for our children. We will not stop fighting and will not allow our children to be called the “N” word by school staff.”



By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

Tom Sapp, the Chairman of the New Brunswick County Democratic Party, has called for the resignation of county Commissioner Mike Forte after the Republican posted what Sapp called in a June 14th “letter to the editor”, “…deplorable,” and “…racist” posts on his Facebook page opining about the massive demonstrations in the aftermath of the George Floyd police killing.
In Forte’s post, he lamented “All whites should give their homes and wealth to a black family”; “All whites are racist”; “Remove historic statues because they offend” and “Defund Police Departments” as just a few of 20 apparent list unjust grievances against white people.
        Commissioner Forte ended his grievance list with “ARE YOU WOKE YET?,” an apparent snide backhand to the social justice mantra of being socially conscious, or “woke.”
Brunswick Democratic Party Chair Sapp was not amused.
As you can see it is tone deaf to the events happening around the country as well as absolutely false in many of the points listed,” Chairman Sapp wrote. “What makes this posting so deplorable is the fact that the taxpayers of Brunswick County pay Mr. Forte a salary and expenses to represent the people of this county.  However, if that salary was as an employee of Brunswick County, he would have likely been dismissed as have other county employees in the past few days due to their own social posts that were deemed inappropriate.”
Sapp goes on, “Another sad point is that no other commissioner or Republican elected official has spoken out about this absolutely racist posting that only can do one thing, and that is to keep this nation apart.  While many Americans are starting to understand the facts of systemic abuse of African-Americans in this country, one commissioner and his party continue to stand in the way of true freedom and justice for all, no matter the cost to the citizens of this country, state, and county.  Of course the same party members and others who stand silent on Mr. forte's posting will certainly have something to say about my comments.  It will range from law and order, to the adoration for a flag of a failed nation based on human bondage for economic posterity.” 
“Mr. Forte  should resign,” Chairman Sapp continued, “… and the county and state Republican party should call for same.”
         Carl Parker, president of the Brunswick County NAACP, issued a release late Tuesday evening, supporting  a petition for Commissioner Forte to "Immediately step down."
         “This is a disgusting level of ignorance that’s painful to see coming from anyone, much less an elected official," Mr. Parker said. "No, we will not go backwards here in Brunswick County. We condemn his racist remarks, and regard them as a prime example of why he neither has the maturity, wisdom, knowledge, nor common decency to further represent the citizens of Brunswick County.” 
         "In addition to being an affront to our community and an insult to our membership, Mr. Forte’s post is in direct violation of both the Commissioners Code of Conduct and the Commissioners Code of Ethics as stated on the Brunswick County website," Mr. Parker continued. "The times we are in dictate that we not sit idly by while someone who is elected to serve ALL the citizens of Brunswick County spouts hate and division. Therefore, I urge you to join me and hundreds of other county residents in signing this petition demanding Mike Forte’s resignation."
         Commissioner Forte is a retired businessman from New Jersey who moved to Brunswick County in 2005. He was elected to the Brunswick County Commission Board in 2015.

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Brunswick County Sheriff John W. Ingram has been petitioned by community leaders and citizens to ban the further use of “ knee holds and chokeholds”; review “all local and county law enforcement officer records of discipling or charging officers that have been charged with misconduct; and “ …immediately review their respective “Use of Force Continuum” to ensure that they have at least six levels of steps, with clear rules on escalation,” among others requests.
At a June 5th meeting, Carl Parker, president of the Brunswick County NAACP; along with Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County NAACP and District Director of the Walter B. White District of the NC NAACP; and a group of other community members, met with Sheriff Ingram, and presented him with their list of “six points of action” designed to forge a better relationship between the Brunswick black community and local law enforcement.
“This group came together in an effort to have honest and candid conversations about the events happening around our country in terms of race relations, discord and mistrust between the black community and law enforcement, concerns of police brutality against African Americans, and ways we can work together to enact change,” a Brunswick NAACP press release about the meeting said.
According to the release, Mr. Parker introduced the following statement to Sheriff Ingram:
The Brunswick County Branch of NAACP was saddened along with the world by the untimely and unwarranted death of George Floyd.  Our Branch issued a press release to thank Sheriff Ingram, the NC Sheriff’s Association and all local police chiefs that condemned that unconscionable death.  We here in Brunswick County are angry like the rest of the Nation but we are turning our “Anger into Action.”  Protesting has its place; but to create a more just and equitable system, there are other things that need to occur.  Aligning with our National NAACP leadership, these are our six points of action that we ask you to act upon immediately”:
  • As a community body, will the towns, cities and Brunswick County immediately identify if each governmental body has a standing Citizen’s Review Boards – (These should be "Review" boards not "Advisory" boards), with subpoena power?  If no review board, our municipalities should identify what accountability structures they currently have in place.
  • Will all the local law enforcement agencies and Sheriff’s Office immediately review their respective “Use of Force Continuum” to ensure that they have at least 6 levels of steps, with clear rules on escalation?
  • Will all local law enforcement agencies and Sheriff’s Office immediately ban the use of “Knee Holds and chokeholds” and deem this practice as unacceptable in Use of Force Continuums?
  • Will the Sheriff’s Office immediately ask or conduct a review of NC State’s Open Records Acts to determine if local law enforcement and/or sheriff officer’s misconduct information and disciplinary histories are shielded from the public?
  • Will the Sheriff’s Office immediately review all local and county law enforcement officer records of disciplining or charging Officers that have been charged with misconduct?
  • Will all local law enforcement agencies and the Sheriff’s Office formally support and request that the Governor of the State of North Carolina establish a State-wide review board to examine events where Police and Sheriff Officers use deadly force and the results of such examinations be tied to recertification credentials?
  • Meeting participants include -  Sheriff John W. Ingram; Chief Deputy Charlie Miller; Carl Parker, NAACP; Deborah Dicks Maxwell, NAACP; Brayton Willis, NAACP, Sonya Patrick, Black Lives Matter; Dr. Jerry Oates, BC Schools Superintendent; Lynda Stanley; Jwantana Gardner-Frink; Audrey Smith; Samantha Ingram; David Boynton; Emmanuel Price; Brian Sanders; Elizabeth Bynum; Rev. Cameron Hankins; Felicia Woodard; Lamar Siler; Judge Pauline Hankins; Troy Simmons; Karla Stanley; Tiffany Fullwood; Rev. Lavar Marlow 
             A follow-up meeting will be scheduled for sometime in July.

[Editor's note - The Journal first published this editorial back in February, and since then, the Wilmington City Council has done nothing. Now, the community vocally said the same thing as part of their list of demands put before the Council Tuesday night, and the Council still did nothing. So we're republishing our February 2020 editorial in support of our community's demand.]

Let’s not beat around the bush here.
Donny Williams should NOT be Wilmington’s Interim police chief.
Donny Williams SHOULD  be Wilmington’s police chief, PERIOD!
We know, we know…it is standard practice for the City Council to name the assistant police chief the interim police chief when the retiring police chief finally calls it a career, as former Chief Ralph Evangelous did on Feb. 1st (and we wish him well in his retirement).
But let’s be real….how much time do we need to know that Interim Chief Williams is a good man, strong leader, and top cop.
Even Chief Evangelous thinks do.
“For the past year and a half, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Assistant Chief Williams help to lead the Wilmington Police Department. His hard work and commitment to community policing continues to be an asset to our agency. I’m confident he will continue to move this agency forward, while focusing on the safety and well-being of our citizens.
“I fully support the decision of the city council,” Chief Evangelous concluded.
The only other endorsement that means more is from the community, and as far as we’re concerned, chief Willams already has that.
He’s a Wilmington native with over 29 years of service to the force, and the people. He knows the WPD inside and out, having served in just about every official capacity. 
But beyond being an officer, a police captain, a deputy chief over Special and Criminal Investigations, and overseeing the department’s largest Patrol division, Chief Williams has always made time for our community’s youth, working to expand the Police Activities League (PAL) enrolling over 500 young people per year.
Chief Williams meets all of the requirements of experienced, and educated leadership, with a BA from Mt. Olive College in Management and Organizational Development. He is also a graduate of the Administrative Officer’s Management Program at NC State University.
Williams has also completed the 75th Session of Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police.
And last, but certainly not least, Chief Williams oversaw the design, development,  and completion of the Haynes - Lacewell Police and fire Training Facility.
There really is no need for discussion here. We have an accomplished Wilmington native already at the wheel of our city’s police department, who has knocked down the door of every requirement we could ask.
So Wilmington City Council…we all know you have a thing for the dramatic, but let’s be real here. Chief Williams is just about all you could ask for to ensure that the citizens of the Port City are well protected, and respected.
Let’s not wait six months for doing what we all know is the right thing. Make Donny Williams Wilmington’s PERMANENT police chief as soon as possible!
A better servant of the people you simply will not find!

                                                    REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

It is touted to be “the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders and people of conscience…,” and, led by Rev. Dr. William Barber, former president of the NCNAACP, it’s happening this Saturday, June 20th.
“The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” is sponsoring the national digital event from Washington, D.C. “…to dramatize the pain and prophetic leadership of the poor…,” effectively “waking the nation to the interlocking injustices facing 140 million poor and low-income people - 43 percent of the nation.”
  The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March was originally planned to be a mass gathering and procession on the streets of our nation’s Capitol, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed those plans.
It is certainly no accident that this event is taking place during a crucial election year. Rev. Barber, president of social justice group “Repairers of the Breach,” and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign along with Rev Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary say the virtual mass assembly and march is designed to “organize towards collective action to enact a moral agenda” for the nation, and “…demands that [Democrats and Republicans] address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism…”
Ultimately, both reverends Barber and Theoharis hope that the collective energy generated by the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will translate in a greater voice for poor people at the polls this November, and beyond.
If the rejected millions—the poor without health insurance, without living wages, without clean water, without voting protections—unite, we can move the moral and political imagination of this country and revive the heart of our democracy,” they say.
The event has taken on more significance since the racial deaths of Amaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In an “Open Letter to Our Nation’s Lawmakers on Systematic Racism, the Poor People’s Campaign wrote:
We lift up those who are taking action against police brutality and all forms of violence against black, brown, indigenous and poor people. Our collective public mourning is an expression of outrage, anguish and pain from these multiple pandemics of police violence, policy violence and economic violence. We are committed to ending systemic racism, poverty, militarism, climate crisis and a distorted moral narrative that denies, excuses and justifies violence against us.
“We need sweeping change. The long train of abuses demand it. Too many deaths demand it. And the protests demand it.
We demand that our politicians address the full extent of this violence — not only the police violence — that we have been suffering from for generations.  
Somebody’s been hurting our people for far too long. And we won’t be silent anymore.
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, a digital virtual event, will be a two-hour program to be broadcast on Saturday, June 20th at 10:00am and 6:00pm, and again on Sunday, June 21st at 6:00pm . Visit to tune in. 

                             REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY)
                                REP. ALMA ADAMS (D-NC-12)

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

During the recent peaceful demonstrations spurred by the police killing of George Floyd, police officers in Charlotte literally trapped protesters on all sides of a parking garage, and then used tear gas and pepper spray on them.
A minister caught in the melee confirms that the attack by CMPD was “unprovoked.”
U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12), who represents Charlotte - Mecklenburg in Congress, was not pleased.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, as well as police departments across the country, should immediately and permanently end the use of tear gas,” Rep. Adams declared shortly afterwards. “Weapons that are illegal in war should never be used on American soil, especially against our own people."
This week, Adams, still angry about both the Charlotte, and the Washington, D.C incident where federal officers also used chemical agents to break up peaceful demonstrators,  put her lawmaking where her mouth is, and introduced “the Right to PROTEST (Protect Real Objectors Taking Exception to Systemic Transgressions) Act.”
"Across our country, chemical agents are being used on protesters who are predominately peaceful,” Rep. Adams said in a statement.  “Entire groups of protesters are being made to choke on gas, as well as being subjected to pepper balls and pepper spray, for the actions of a few protesters.”
"Over the past month, protesters were often the victims of indiscriminate force. On many occasions, they couldn’t breathe."
"The Right to PROTEST Act makes such indiscriminate use of chemical agents a federal crime, holding all police departments nationwide accountable. We cannot lose the trust of the public by inflicting indiscriminate punishments without judge, jury, or trial," Rep. Adams concluded.
The bill has several important cosponsors, including Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
“Troops are banned from deploying tear gas and chemical agents against enemies in war, and yet we are still using it here at home - that is unacceptable,” Rep. Maloney said. “I am proud to join Rep. Adams on her bill to stop law enforcement from indiscriminately using these tactics on Americans demonstrating their First Amendment rights to peacefully protest.”