Monday, July 27, 2020




By Cash Michaels

Staff writer

If the tapes of three disgraced white former Wilmington police officers who were captured calling black demonstrators, black officers and even an African-American magistrate n-words, are released to the public, there will be violence in the Port City, claimed an attorney for two of them.

That was just one of the arguments used by an attorney for two of the former officers in court Wednesday as the city petitioned to release to racially shocking patrol car tapes that led to the termination of Officer James Gilmore, Cpl. Jesse Moore and Officer Kevin Piner.

The judge hearing the case has now postponed it until August 27th to allow the attorney for the former officers to gather more evidence for their defense.

N.C. state law requires the court to approve any police video recordings to the public.

Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams announced their termination on June 24th after a police supervisor discovered the racist conversations during a random audit of patrol tapes. Racial slurs and talk of a possible black white “civil war” where black people would be “slaughtered” were heard, and later documented in a released transcript.

The city of Wilmington and the police department are seeking to release the actual tapes in an effort of transparency.

But Attorney Michael McGuiness, who represents Kevin Piner and Jesse Moore, warned Superior Court Judge Josh Willey that doing so would assure harm coming to his clients. McGuiness warns Wednesday that they have already subject to threats, and have had to move from their homes to seek safety.

“This recording is the most inflammatory, bad police language that I’ve heard in 32 years, and if that is released into the community, we fear that violence already existing in Wilmington, we believe that is going to continue,” McGuinness told the court.

McGuiness then claimed that there was an alleged “…declared war on the police community” in Wilmington.

The police attorney then argued that he needed to call a witness in defense of his clients, and wanted to do so during an in-person court session. Most court sessions statewide have been relegated to virtual platforms because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wilmington City Attorney Daniel Thurston would hear none of it. He told the court that based on the controversial nature of the police recordings, the city wanted the case over and the tapes released sooner than later, saying that the citizens of Wilmington “want closure.”

Chief Williams - officially appointed over a month ago - says he wants the city to view his department as transparent in releasing the tapes. 

The court continuance was granted for August 27.


                                                                  SEN. TOM COTTON
                                                                PROF. IRV JOYNER
                                                              DR. VALERIE JOHNSON



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Two Black North Carolina scholars criticized U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for saying in an interview over the weekend that he agreed with the founders that slavery was a “necessary evil…upon which the union was built.”

America should not be seen “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind,” Cotton, a right-wing conservative, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

And if there is any doubt about Sen. Cotton’s stance, he called the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Magazine “1619 Project” coordinated by UNC-Chapel Hill alumna Nikole Hannah-Jones “left-wing propaganda” and “factually, historically flawed.”

The much-heralded series examined America’s history starting from when enslaved Africans were first brought to these shores.

Cotton doesn’t want the project taught in the nation’s public schools, so he is sponsoring the Saving American History Act of 2020, which, if passed, would “cut of federal professional development funds to any school district that teaches a curriculum linked to the 1619 Project,” according to the Huffington Post.

On Twitter, Nikole Hannah-Jones wasn’t tolerating Cotton’s excuse of slavery.

If chattel slavery — heritable, generational, permanent, race-based slavery where it was legal to rape, torture, and sell human beings for profit — were a “necessary evil” as @TomCottonAR says, it’s hard to imagine what cannot be justified if it is a means to an end,” she wrote.

Here in North Carolina, Hannah-Jones has supporters at two historically Black universities - Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson, Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities at Shaw University; and  Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law.

In response to Sen. Tom Cotton’s plan to introduce as law the “Saving American History Act of 2020” is to declare this proposed act to be one of governmental overreach on the Federal level, said Dr. Johnson. “It is an attempt to chill academic freedom, one of the hallmark’s of American Democracy, in order to espouse a view of American history that is whitewashed and supports white supremacy.”

Dr Johnson continued, “We now benefit from the work of so many scholars bringing to light aspects of American history kept hidden.  We are better for the many publications that expand U.S. to include all of its people and their stories.  By trying to curtail, through the threat of loss of revenue, the ability of educators to determine from their experience and training what is needed in the classroom, Cotton lays the foundation for fascism.  Here again is another hypocritical attempt to impose the views of a few on the American public despite claiming to do the opposite.”

“Tom Cotton seems not to understand a fundamental truth.  To quote Shaw alumnus, Ms. Ella Baker: “In order to see where we are going, we not only must remember where we have been, but we must understand where we have been.”  This only happens when we are courageous enough to tell the whole and truthful narrative of who and what we are as a nation,” concluded Dr. Johnson.

Professor Joyner couldn’t agree more.

It is clear that slavery was a gigantic and sinful exploitation of humanity and it placed the founders of this country on the barbaric side of history. That “original” exhibition of inhumanity by those who crafted the legal foundation for this country created a system and mentality of racism which have survived the passage of time and is still resident within systems, institutions and the mind-set of today’s America. That is crystal clear when you listen to the modern day enslaver class who seek to glorify and re-invent that racist history and mentality.”

  Joyner, who is also chair of the NCNAACP’s Legal Redress Committee Committee, continued, “The United States was born and wrapped up in slavery and this nation’s leaders have  endorsed and actively supported this nation’s dehumanizing treatment of African Americans and most other racial minorities. Despite the re-birth and revamping of this nation ethos, which occurred after the Civil War and after the Civil Rights movement, racism continues to guide the philosophy, thinking and interactions of many elected officials and is deeply embedded within this nation’s institutions and governing bodies.”

  “Tom Cotton is just another example of that racial-biased mindset who continues efforts to salvage and restore the legacy of this nation’s racist founders,” Prof. Joyner added. “In response, we need to continue efforts to confront those individuals who hold, express and honor these racist views. A part of that struggle must confront the telling of history and efforts to glorify that racist past along with those who harbor and peddle these racist views.  As for Cotton, another elected official with racist views, we must call a “spade a spade” and loudly denounce this latest volley of revisionist racial history.”


STATE NEWS BRIEFS for 07-30-20


[RALEIGH] In an effort to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 cases  across the state, Gov. Roy Cooper Tuesday ordered that starting Friday, alcohol sales will no longer be allowed in restaurants for on-site consumption after 11 p.m.. "People are less socially distant and less sitting at tables and more milling around and more up around the bar," he said. "This is one of the ways that we believe will be effective in driving those [statewide virus] numbers down if we want to discourage that bar-type scene in a restaurant." All bars in the state remain closed. Restaurants are limited to takeout and operating at half-capacity for dining. Cooper with college students coming back to the state for the new school year, it was important to impose the restriction now.


[WILMINGTON] Apparently the New Hanover County Board of Education has been searching for a new leader for it's school system in secret fo the passed several months. The Board is expected to announce it's selection this Friday. There has been no list of candidates made public.


[RALEIGH] Harnett County Republican Rep. David Lewis, seen as one of the most powerful state lawmakers in the legislature, and the architect of North Carolina’s voter I.D. and redistricting laws as chairman of the House Rules Committee, has announced that he is stepping down after he serves out his current term. Lewis, a Dunn farmer, has been in the legislature since 2003. Lewis will have to be replaced on the ballot for the Nov. election.


Monday, July 20, 2020



[RALEIGH] After over 50% of parents indicated that they preferred their children safely learning at home virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s largest public school system, Wake County Public Schools, decided to start the school year most of it’s enrolled  students with virtual instruction, eventually transitioning to in-person learning in the classroom later in the school year. Pre-kindergarten and special education students will begin their in-person instruction on Sept. 8th. 

[GREENSBORO] The Greensboro City Council Tuesday evening unanimously approved making Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees, doing Wake County in doing the sam several weeks ago. Juneteenth is the annual celebration of when slaves in Texas were informed two years after the fact that slavery had been abolished.

[PITTSBORO] Drivers along Highway 64 East Business used to seeing a giant Confederate battle Flag blowing in the wind, are now shaking their heads at a new neighbor - a paid billboard saying “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” The billboard, which will be up for a year, was paid for by Recidivism Reduction Educational Program Services and Emancipate NC.

                                        COUNCILMAN KEVIN SPEARS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

At the recommendation of Mayor Saffo, the Wilmington City Council Tuesday night postponed a vote on creating a BLACK LIVES MATTER art installation on Third Street downtown near Jervay Memorial Gardens, hoping to reach a compromise by it’s next meeting August 4th.
But Councilman Kevin Spears isn’t having it.  
“I don’t like it,” a perturbed Spears told The Journal Wednesday. “ I don’t like it at all.”
“I think we were in a position to vote last night, and we should have voted last night. The information my fellow council members said they needed [to make a decision] I think was provided to us…[giving us] the ability to make the decision.”
But instead, not only was an alternative ILM=BLM sign recommended by city staff, but Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes joined Councilman Charles Rivenbark  and pushing for anything other than BLACK LIVES MATTER.
During a contentious virtual meeting Monday, Rivenbark, in fact, called BLACK LIVES MATTER “racist,” opting instead for “ALL LIVES MATTER.”
Spears and other activists in the community countered, saying all lives  can’t matter until black lives matter, and Wilmington’s racial history, especially since the 1898 race massacre, makes that clea
Councilman Spears says there have been “ a lot of messages” for, and against the BLACK LIVES MATTER proposed mural. He added that a lot of influence for the postponement came from constituents who were opposed  to it. He agreed only because he knows that on August 4th “something has to happen. It has to take place.”
But Spears made clear that unless the BLACK LIVES MATTER mural was on the table at the August 4th meeting, he will not be voting for any compromises.
“I say it now, and I’ll say it for the next two weeks…my motion was for the art installation exactly as the proposal was stated to us,” Councilman Spears told The Journal. BLACK LIVES MATTER spelled out [as] it is.”
“At this point I’m unwilling to compromise on what the message says.”
Councilman Spears is not alone in that sentiment. Activists angrily denounced the council Tuesday night for failing to vote, and seemingly posturing to water down the BLM message.
I am very disappointed that this council, in this city has failed the people again,” NHC NAACP Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell told the Journal. “First there had to be a compromise with no street mural and now opposition to the solution. Congratulations to the cities that were able to accomplish this task effortlessly. Councilman Rivenbark’s comment were divisive not the fact that recognition is needed to state Black Lives Matter. The county has recognized race as a health disparity yet the city keeps their  head in the sand. 
“A sad commentary for the city of 1898,” Ms. Maxwell concluded.
Sonya Patrick, head of Black Lives Matter - Wilmington and the chair of the NHC Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus, told The Journal, “Black Lives Matter murals are going up around the country as an art expression of social justice, humanity not politics.  We do not support the wordage ILM-BLM, if the mural cannot say BLACK LIVES MATTER, the local public officials should not count on Black votes in any elections. “
Patrick continued, “It would be in bad taste if the Mayor and City Council voted against a Black Lives Matter mural at the home of the 1898 Massacre, the only government takeover in the history of this nation, killing  unarmed  black citizens.  After over 120 years no reparations for this horrific tragedy. In 1898 the local government composed " The White Declaration of Independence", it is still relevant today in this systemic racist system...  After Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark stated  that the mural will be  “racist.” 
“The black caucus  and BLM strongly believe that his statement had no merit and that  ALL public officials should take a mandatory cultural competency course with implicit  bias training.   We feel this would help keep our public officials from being offensive, embarrassing and making national news when discussing racial issues.”

                                           THE LATE REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA-5)

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

“…[T]hey’re going to help redeem the soul of this nation….and maybe even save the planet.”
Those were some of the last public words uttered by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5) a month ago during a joint town hall video with former Pres. Barack Obama during the peaceful demonstrations inspired by the death of George Floyd.
The appearance was Rep. Lewis’ heartfelt expression of respect to today’s generation of freedom fighters, who he felt emulated the same level of courage and commitment he displayed as a young disciple of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the turbulent 1960’s civil rights movement.
On Friday, July 17th, Congressman John Lewis, 80, died. He had been suffering for several months from stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He had represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District for over thirty years.
Among the tributes from leaders the world over, were many from his friends and colleagues here in North Carolina - a state the Alabama native had a deep love and respect for.
Congressman John Lewis was a hero whose lessons will echo for generations to come,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement. “Let’s all honor him by working to live up to his example.”
Congressman Lewis was also very close with former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who was the first black student to integrate the old Raleigh Public School System. The two were colleagues on the Atlanta City Council during the 1980s.
Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival, said, “John Lewis challenged everyone, including [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] & other elders in the Movement, through his unflinching commitment to freedom now. We cannot honor him without redoubling our efforts to revive this democracy.”
Rev. Barber had a message for Republicans who are expressing sorrow for the great civil rights champion.
“Congress, if you truly want to honor John Lewis, pass an omnibus bill that includes living wages, voting rights, & universal health care. As the Bible says in Matthew 23, don’t just love the tombs of the prophet but truly love him & honor him by doing what he did all of his life.”
Congressman Lewis’ North Carolina colleagues would agree.
America has lost its greatest living hero. Everything John Lewis did was in the service of Justice,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12). “It was an honor to make “good trouble” with John in the House, and I will miss my friend. My prayers are with his family and every seeker of justice who mourns him today.
Rep. G. K. Butterfield echoed the sentiment.
Courage, conviction, the “Conscience of Congres. Congressman John Lewis was an American hero who epitomized the true spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Butterfield of his friend in a statement. “From the streets of Selma to the Halls of Congress, an original Freedom Rider and a forever freedom fighter, John Lewis dedicated his life to the cause of justice and equality and will always be remembered for his humility and strength. His fervent passion and fearless conviction will forever be a reminder to never be afraid of getting into ‘good trouble’ for a good cause. John R. Lewis was a dear friend, and he will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. He now belongs to the ages.”
Fourth District Congressman David Price, another close friend of Rep. Lewis, said, ““Congressman John Lewis’ remarkable life — rising from the Jim Crow South to courageous leadership in the Civil Rights movement to his service in the halls of Congress — is a uniquely American story, as he often said. But his love of our country was expressed in his lifelong determination that it redeem its failures and live up to its democratic promise. His moral clarity in the face of injustice harnessed the power of everyday people to demand equality in the eyes of the law, a fair chance at a better life, and inclusion in the “beloved community.”
Several North Carolina Republicans like representatives Greg Murphy, Virginia Foxx and Sen. Thom Tillis also expressed their condolences to Rep. Lewis’ family.
However, prominent Democrats in Congress challenged Republicans to truly honor Rep. Lewis by passing restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House, but has been sitting on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk  without action.(R-KY).
“"There's very little tangible evidence of this whole voter-suppression nonsense that the Democrats are promoting,” McConnell told the Wall Street Journal just last week.
NC Chief Justice Cherie Beasley knew Congressman Lewis, and respected his work as a young civil rights activist, leader of the Shaw University-born Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and later congressman representing the Atlanta district.
“We must continue their work,” she told WRAL-TV, also acknowledging the death of  another disciple of Dr. King during the ’60’s movement, Rev. C.T. Vivian, who died the day before Lewis.


                                ASHEVILLE COUNCILMAN KEITH YOUNG
                                                     SONYA PATRICK

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

When the Western North Carolina city of Asheville passed a local resolution mandating reparations to it’s Black community, it was the shot heard around the world.
By a 7-0 unanimous vote, the Asheville City Council not only apologized for its role in enslaving Black people who essentially built the Buncombe County city during the 1700-1800s through hard, unpaid labor, but resolved to make investments to help area African-Americans to “…increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,”according to the ratified July 14th city resolution.
Afterwards, one of the resolution’s sponsors, Councilman Keith Young, said, “Hundreds of years of Black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today.”
Based on published reports, there are a few other cities, like Chicago and Evanston, Illinois that have passed some form of reparations measure. There are also state legislatures like New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania considering legislation. California’s state house reportedly passed legislation in June, and has sent it’s measure onto it’s state Senate.
But conspicuously, no other North Carolina town, city or county is on the list for even considering reparations, despite their documented roles in enslaving people of African descent.
That was the case for Black slaves who were considered property, considered 20 percent of the known population in 1808 of  what was then known as Greensborough. Years later, the Underground Railroad would transport blacks from Guilford County to safe haven up North until slavery ended in 1865.
That was the case in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, where according to D.A. Tompkins’ History of Mecklenburg County, slavery was introduced there in 1764. By 1860, the lave population is estimated to have been roughly 6800 out of the total population of 17,000. And during the Civil War, Mecklenburg slaves were “donated” to the Confederacy to help build fortifications in Eastern North Carolina, and work on the Statesville Railroad.
And a case can certainly be made for reparations in Wilmington, given the 1898 racial slaughter of blacks by white supremacists that resulted in a bloody, and illegal grab for power, property and governance.
Sonya Patrick, head of the New Hanover County of the National Black Leadership Caucus and Black Lives Matter - Wilmington, says Asheville has certain lit a spark that she hopes will light up the nation, and the embattled Port City.
The state of NC needs to take responsibility for the 1898 Massacre, a bill needs to be rendered to provide the following as a form of reparations:  1- All students of low level schools be provided a free wifi and computer .  2- Scholarship for all the descendants of the 1898 Massacre ( which can be proved by census, legal documentation for example certificates ( birth and death). .  3 -  Compensation for the Black Press. 4- Compensation for the churches and black businesses that existed in 1898 and are still current. 5 -. Compensations to victims of the descendants of stolen property,” Patrick says.
She notes the the NC Democratic Party passed a resolution for reparations in 2014, the state legislature ignored it.
“However, giving up is not an option,” Patrick says.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

CASH STUFF 07-16-20

                                           BRANDON DAVONE SMITH

By Cash Michaels
Staff writer

New Hanover District Attorney Ben David reiterated this week a decision he made in November 2013 - the police shooting death of Brandon Davone Smith is closed.
Despite new public inquiries into Smith’s killing, David  said in a press release that “This matter is closed and no new evidence has been presented that would cause the State Bureau of Investigation to reopen this investigation.” 
The family of Brandon Smith has maintained throughout that  despite claims by David and New Hanover  County Sheriff Ed McMahon that Smith was responsible for the October 10, 2013 shooting of a NHC Sheriff’s detective in Wilmington’s Creekside community. The officer was wounded.
According to authorities, Smith, 30 at the time, had a history of violent felonies dating back to the 1990s, and refused to turn himself in. 
Three days later, NHC deputies cornered Smith after a footchase, and fatally shot him when he refused to him his hands.
No gun nor weapon was found at the scene or on his person after the shooting.
Weeks later, after D.A. David justified the shooting, Sheriff McMahon defended his deputies, saying, “It's not OK when you are being apprehended to refuse and act aggressively, that's just not acceptable.”
Smith’s estranged wife said she didn’t believe that he would shoot a law enforcement officer. 
“I don’t even think he shot the deputy,” Lindsey Smith said. “ think they are just blaming him. They said they were looking for him.  So, instead of getting him and taking him into custody they shot him down and murdered him.”
The rest of Smith’s family also cast doubt on his slaying, and the way authorities say it happened. As evidence, they point to an audio recording of the shooting from on of the officers on scene.
“So it’s like they had it set in their mind what they were gonna do from the beginning,” Georgia Davis, Brandon Smith’s sister, told a local television station.“And then they did it, and we wanna know why?”
“The audio was captured by an in-car camera from a law enforcement vehicle that was away from the scene of the shooting.,” says D.A. David in his press release this week. “The technology that captured this audio was not like how many body cameras operate now with the camera and microphone in one unit on the wearer. The officer wearing the microphone connected to this audio was a WPD K39 officer. He was one of many law enforcement officials from numerous agencies who responded to the scene and was not one of the personnel involved in the shooting.”
David continued, “Audio from this incident is now circulating on social media. This audio is not new evidence. The SBI, the prosecutors who assessed the case, and the family of Brandon Smith and their civil attorney had the benefit of reviewing the entire investigative file years ago, including this audio. Members of the SBI and my office met with the Smith family attorney on at least two different occasions to allow them to review all the evidence (including allowing the attorney to interview the lead case agent from the SBI). The Smith family chose not to file a civil case within the five year statute of limitations. They, and others on their behalf, now seek to litigate this case in the press. That is not the proper venue to arrive at the truth.”

[RALEIGH] After a national search, the Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s University announces the appointment of Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail as the University’s 12th President, effective July 15, 2020. Irving Pressley McPhail is founder and chief strategy officer at the McPhail Group LLC. A senior executive in higher education, urban public-school administration, and the nonprofit sector, Dr. McPhail was previously the sixth president and CEO at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, Inc. (NACME), founding chancellor at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), president at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, and president at Lemoyne-Owen College. He also served as university provost at Pace University, vice president and dean of academic affairs at Delaware State University, and chief operating officer at the Baltimore City Public Schools.

[RALEIGH] for the first time in it’s history,  the Raleigh City Council this week appointed an African-\American woman to serve as councillor. Atty. Stormie Forte will now represent District D on council, a seat vacated by former Councilman Saige Martin, who recently resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Atty. Forte was selected from over  fifty qualified candidates. She will save out Martin’s unfinished term, which will end in 2021.

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S Sen Thom Tillis (R-NC) said this week that voters should not judge either Pres. Trump nor the Republican Party on how they’ve mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, but on how “good” their lives were before the virus. 
“…You know why I know we’re going to win?” Tillis rhetorically asked during remarks at last week’s NC GOP Convention“Because people remember how good their lives were back in February.” Sen. Tillis is in a tough election campaign against democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

The community which sends it’s children to North Carolina public schools the most, is concerned about sending their children now given the limited plans available to ensure safety from the coronavirus pandemic.
African-American students comprised approximately 25.7% of the NC pubic school population for the 2015-16 school year. Assuming that percentage has remained fairly consistent in the years since, that means that black students routinely make up one-fourth of all students attending.
And yet, high profile Republicans from Pres. Donald Trump to NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are demanding that all students return  to school this fall, and do so without regard to catching or transmitting the deadly virus.
We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools,” Trump told a White House roundtable last week, threatening to withhold federal funding from those states that don’t.
Given how the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting the black community, African-Americans on social media aren’t interested in their children being sent to schools where it would be next to impossible to enforce mask wearing, social distancing and the constant washing of hands.
Some were even very suspicious of Trump’s and the Republican’s motives for pushing for full school reopening so strong.
“Hell no,” declared a facebook poster named Karen. “Our black children will die [and] they don’t care.”
“The rich kids are in private schools or are home schooled,” chimed in another Facebook poster named Veronica. “The kids that will be harmed with unsafe and badly managed reopening will disproportionately be black and brown kids.”
“School reopening must be guided by science for the safety of all kids. Local school boards, parents, teachers and staff need to be at the forefront of reopening plans, not politicians with their own agendas,” Veronica concluded
And even public school teachers are expressing concern about managing their classes without stronger safety assurances.
On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper unveiled three reopening plans - the first involving minimal social distancing; the second with increased social distancing at no more than 50 percent capacity, and school buses at no more than 33 percent capacity; and third implementing remote computer only.
Cooper pushed The second, or Plan B, but also recommended the third, or Plan C or school districts if better suited.
Face masks will be required for all students, teachers and staff through 12th grade, along with daily symptom screenings.
Some large school districts, like Guilford, Wake and Durham, have already approved Plan B. Charlotte-Mecklenburg will vote on a choice. New Hanover is scheduled to release the results of a parent survey this week.

BY Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Even though two North Carolina courts have ruled that voter photo identification will not be implemented for the upcoming Nov. 3rd elections, state Republicans simply refuse to take “no” for an answer.
And that’s making state Democrats a bit nervous.
Republicans filed a motion in state Superior Court on July 9th, noting that the state Court of Appeals earlier in the year granted an injunction against voter ID for the November elections, but now should reconsider because the GOP-led legislature passed House bill 1169 removing one of the issues that triggered the injunction in the first place.
HB 1169, which passed with bipartisan support, primarily deals with election issues pertaining to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
But among the issues addressed was allowing poll workers to now allow public assistance identification to be used as voter ID. That was not one of the IDs allowed in the 2018 voter ID bill that spurred lawsuits resulting in injunctions stopping the laws enactment.
But in granting the injunction stopping voter ID for November, a judge noted the absence of allowing public assistance cards from what was allowed in the 2018 bill.
"With the enactment of H.B. 1169, the General Assembly has adopted nearly every 'ameliorative' amendment proposed ... and it also has addressed the key shortcoming identified by the Court of Appeals," Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican,  boosted in a statement after passage.
If there is a possible saving grace for Democrats, it’s this - public assistance cards don’t normally have photographs on them.
It will be up to a state judge whether HB 1169 satisfies that voter ID should be allowed in time for the Nov. 3rd elections.
It was earlier this year when a three-judge state appellate panel ruled that the 2018 voter ID law was designed with “discriminatory intent,” as alleged by in lawsuits by  six Wake County defendants’ and issued injunctions staying the law until trial.
Last December, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the 2018 voter ID law, saying that she saw evidence of racial discrimination in the way the law came about.

By Cash Michaels
Special to the NCPA

[WILMINGTON] From even before North Carolina native George Floyd was coldbloodedly killed by a Minneapolis police officer with a knee to his neck, the  coastal port city of Wilmington - a place where raging white supremacist violently overthrew elected black control in 1898 - was dealing with extraordinary racism, and clear evidence that black lives really didn’t matter.
But few knew that, even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, that would dramatically have to change.
It was May 3rd when an angry white mob with guns, led by an off-duty New Hanover County sheriff’s duty, would allegedly assault the home of a black family demanding entry in neighboring Pender County under the premise of searching for a missing girl. No one was hurt, but the incident deeply disturbed African-Americans who felt threatened in a national atmosphere where angry whites felt free to falsely and verbally attack blacks for exercising their constitutional rights.
May 25th - the day that would literally rock the world when George Floyd fatally fell victim to outrageous police abuse in a disturbing video, igniting massive protests and demonstrations in cities all over the nation, including Wilmington.
Police chiefs across the state join demonstrators in decrying the death of Floyd, and in some cases, as with then interim Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams, marched with them.
Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets, taking up the rallying cry heard all over to end police violence, remove confederate statues that honored white supremacist legacies, and “defund the police”- a cry to take funding from the local law enforcement budget, and transfer it to more social service programs for the poor.
BLM protesters in Wilmington also demanded the establishment of a civilian police review board, and the permanent appointment of Interim Chief Williams to head Wilmington law enforcement.
On the night of June 24th, two confederate statues were removed from the downtown Wilmington area by order of city government, per the demands of many in the African-American community who complained that they were reminders of past white racism and oppression that still plagued black people in the Port City.
That stunning news was then immediately followed by the welcomed announcement that Interim Chief Williams had indeed been made permanent to lead the police department, becoming the first African-American ever to do so.
But then the shocker. On his first day as the permanent chief, Williams announced the termination of three veteran white Wilmington police officers who were unknowingly caught on a police vehicle recording using racial slurs to describe Black Lives Matter demonstrators, black police officers, a black magistrate, and even their new black police chief.
And the officers were also caught using hate-filled speech, discussing starting a racial “civil war” to wipe blacks “off the f——-g map.”
The New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced that after reviewing the tapes, he couldn’t find evidence of the officers breaking any state law, but he did call for s federal Justice Department investigation. He also made sure the former officers could not serve as witnesses in any of the 70 cases they were involved in.
Chief Williams ensured that they could never work for the city of Wilmington again, and would be blackballed to ever work in any other North Carolina law enforcement agency. He also vowed that as long as he was police chief in Wilmington, he would not tolerate racist attitudes among his officers on the force.
Recently it was reported that one of the former officers, James “Brian” Gilmore, is appealing his termination, claiming that the remarks he was fired for, about whites “worshipping” black protesters, were actually constitutionally “protected” religious speech, not racial. Gilmore wants his job back.
Then on July 6th, the NC Clergy Truth and Reconciliation Mission filed a federal complaint against the ousted white officers with the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Justice Dept., seeking an investigation.
Finally, on Monday, July 13th, the New Hanover Board of Commissioners, by a 3-2 vote, passed a resolution that was simply unthinkable before the death of George Floyd - declaring racism a “public health crisis.”
“Racism has formed the basis for a public health crisis affecting our entire County and should be treated with urgency,” read the resolution in part. “This resolution calls upon legislators, health officials and others in our community to research and analyze data, and make meaningful changes to dismantle systemic racism. New Hanover County will seek to promote Racial equity….”
And at that same meeting, the NHC Commission Board voted to change the name of Hugh McRae Park - originally named after a prominent white supremacist in Wilmington’s past - to Long Leaf Park. The sign was immediately dismantled the day after.
In the span of just three months, Wilmington, given it’s torrid racial history, has seen the kind of transformative change no one could have imagined.
The question now, and for the future, is, can it last?

Monday, July 6, 2020



[RALEIGH] North Carolina’s capitol county is now the first in the state to recognize the African-American holiday, Juneteenth, as an official paid count holiday. “Wake County has just declared racism as a public health crisis and acknowledge our shared duty to address it, said Wake Commissioner Jessica Holmes after the commission vote last Monday. June 19th is officially the day in 1865 that marks the end of slavery when blacks in Texas finally got word of the Emancipation Proclamation by Pres. Lincoln two years earlier.

[RALEIGH] Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed controversial Senate Bill 168 Monday after protesters expressed concern that it would shield death investigation records from the public. Death records normally become public record after being handled by the Office of State Medical Examiner. However the law, which had been passed unanimously by the Legislature two weeks ago, would have kept details from public view, especially in fatal police shootings.

[RALEIGH] Gov. Roy Cooper has so overstepped his legal bounds during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, that he has violated everyone’s state and federal constitutional rights, and thus should be removed from office by impeachment, says ReOpenNC. Group leader Ashley Smith says Cooper has no authority to close businesses or order people to wear masks, and should be removed.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

As of Monday, July 6th, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina logged 74,529 cases of COVID-19 statewide, 24% of which were Black (or African-American); and 1,398 deaths, 33% Black. 
The total cases logged Monday were 1546 more than were counted the day before. 982 COVID-19 hospitalizations, the highest until then , had also been recorded.
Also on Monday, more than 1 million tests for coronavirus had been completed across the state, with approximately, with 9% coming back positive.
In key counties like New Hanover - 1,138 cases, 17% Black, 7 death, 0% Black; Guilford - 3,149 cases, 39% Black, with 37% of the 117 deaths there were Blacks; Bumcombe - 693 cases, 8% which are Black, and of 29 deaths, 0% Black; Mecklenburg - 13,111, 29% are Black, and of the 154 recorded deaths, 31% are Black.
With Mecklenburg County registering among the highest number of cases per county across the state, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) issued a report early Tuesday of this week on her office’s constituent service during the coronavirus pandemic. As of July 6th, Adam’s office responded, by letter, to 10,363 constituent questions and comments; five pieces of legislation in the Congress on COVID-19 issues by Rep. Adams; 15 Congressional letters requesting support from either Democratic House leadership, Pres. Trump or support from colleagues regarding COVID-19 related issues; and 19 in-district events (town halls) dealing with various aspects of the pandemic.
The result was $212 million in federal funding awarded to Adam’s 12th Congressional District for coronavirus relief efforts.
After suing the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for the information, the New York Times last week published statistics documenting “Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to the new data, which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people, the data shows.”
The Times report continued, “Experts point to circumstances that have made Black and Latino people more likely than white people to be exposed to the virus: Many of them have front-line jobs that keep them from working at home; rely on public transportation; or live in cramped apartments or multigenerational homes.”

                                                    DISTRICT ATTORNEY BEN DAVID
                                                                SONYA PATRICK

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Being fired from their jobs as veteran Wilmington police officers isn’t enough, say community leaders, especially after the racist three were caught on tape talking about starting a “civil war,” “slaughtering f*****g n****s,”  and wiping blacks “…off the f*****g map.”
Former “…officers James Gilmore and Kevin Piner, and Corporal Jesse Moore…should not be allowed to work as police officers anywhere in the United States,” demanded Sonya Patrick of Black Lives Matter Wilmington in a statement issued last week. “Moreover, a message must be sent to all police officers who disparage their commander and threaten to murder citizens, and to start an insurrection, must be arrested and indicted.”
However, while agreeing that referring to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, a black suspect, black police officers and even a black magistrate judge as n-words were certainly serious offenses warranting termination, they are not criminal offenses, said New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David. 
In a letter to Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams last week, David said instead, he would be calling for a federal investigation into the white former officers “hate-filled speech” because they broke no state laws.
“Words alone – spoken in private, not intended by the speaker to be heard by the person whom the speaker is victimizing, and not part of a plan that the speaker and others have agreed upon – cannot constitute a crime for which someone can be arrested or prosecuted. This is not a close legal call,” D.A. David wrote.
On June 4th, Piner, Gilmore and Moore were heard on a patrol car recording speaking with racist disdain about African-Americans, and fired subsequently on June 24th by Chief Williams. The firings made national news, adding to the current discourse about negative policing in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.
Sonya Patrick of BLM Wilmington expressed disappointment that D.A. David would not charge the officers, even though she was pleased that David made sure the racist three could not be called as witnesses in any of their previous cases within his jurisdiction. In fact, David dismissed 70 cases the officers were involved with, mostly misdemeanors. 
On Monday, the Wilmington NC Clergy Truth and Reconciliation Mission filed a complaint against the former officers with the Community Relations Service of the Southeast Regional Office of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, regarding “Threats of Assault and Violent War on People because of their Race, National Origin and Color by Three Wilmington PD officers and other unknown co-conspirators.”
We, the Wilmington NC Clergy Truth and Reconciliation Mission, make these Allegations, based on information and good faith belief, to expose secret political societies within the region’s law enforcement community who aim to terrorize with criminal threats of war and mass murder of Wilmington’s people because of our race, color, national origin and religious faith, and dismantle  them forever from our state,” stated a summary of the complaint.
At press time, Chief Williams was waiting for a judge to release the tapes so that the public can hear for themselves what the former officers actually said.