TROOPER MAKES FAYETTEVILLE
MAN WALK SIX MILES TO HIS CAR
By Cash Michaels
Editor’s note - this is part 2 of a story about a black North Carolina medical professional who flew to Missouri for a medical conference in August, and found himself the target of alleged police abuse within a half hour of being there.
Greg Smith’s ordeal August 6th was every black driver’s nightmare come true - being stopped in the middle of the night on the road by police for no legal reason; faced with the uncertainty of either being physically assaulted, or hauled off to jail, or both.
And to make matters worse, Smith was a clinical director from Fayetteville, NC who had just flown in to Missouri - documented as one of the worst states in the nation for racial profiling - for a medical conference.
Black, alone and from out-of-town. How much worse could it get?
Smith was about to find out.
He had already refused to show his driver’s license to the irritated white Missouri state trooper who stopped him until a supervisor arrived, keeping both his hands on the steering wheel of his rental car, and having called 9-1-1 so that the operator could both hear and record the entire confrontation from his car until he was aggressively taken out, arrested, handcuffed and taken away.
And yet the whole time, Smith had no idea why he was “legally” stopped.
“There was never a crime committed nor law broken,” Smith maintains.
He’s taken to a Platte City Highway Patrol station, where at first Smith was charged with speeding. Except that he could prove he was doing 65 mph in a 70 mph zone, and vigorously defended himself while still handcuffed, sitting in a chair. Indeed, the arresting officer had to account to the desk sergeant as to why Smith was even brought in in the first place.
Missouri law enforcement looked for Smith’s criminal record through their computers, and discovered that….he didn’t have one. He’s a black man who is who he is. Eventually he was uncuffed.
And yet there was still a problem. Smith was informed by the desk sergeant that they just can’t let him go because of the way the arresting officer wrote up the traffic stop in the computer - “PERSON WILLFULLY RESISTS OPPOSES A MEMBER OF THE PATROL IN THE PROPER DISCHARGE OF THEIR DUTIES.”
Smith had to pay $1,040 to bond himself out in order to be released, or else he would have to remain in jail “for a while.” Fortunately, Smith says, he had his Visa card on him.
But even that would not help Smith find his rental car, which was taken to a Quick Stop all-night gas station approximately six miles away by officers, and left there. If Smith wanted his car back, he’d have to call a taxi to take him to it. He’d also have to stay in the building downstairs in order to have any kind of shelter and safety.
After 90 minutes of “shelter and safety” and five fruitless calls waiting for a taxi, a tired and frustrated Greg Smith decided to strike out on his own, and walked the dark streets of Platte City to find his rental car.
After getting confusing directions from officers, he went. Using the flashlight on his cellphone, Smith reached a gas station about a mile and a half away, where an attendant told him that his rental car was most likely at another station six miles away.
Smith finally reached the vehicle, and then took himself to an emergency room because of “the incredible pain” from the handcuffs. To Smith, it was apparent that the irritated white trooper “really wanted to injure me,” given the bruises on his wrists.”
“You’re questioning my authority, so I’m going to do this, or this to you,” Smith surmisses the trooper’s alleged rough actions as saying.
The Fayetteville man says through it all he thought of previous well-known victims of racial police violence like Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown - killed right there in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer in August 2014, and felt the responsibility to speak out against what happened to him.
It’s one of the reasons why Smith felt it important to keep his hands on the steering wheel where they could be seen when stopped, and never move them, dial 9-1-1 so that the operator could hear and record all that was going on, and demand a highway patrol supervisor to the scene so that any arrest could be conducted properly, if at all.
Smith has a black attorney in Missouri, and is ready to fight what happened to him.
“Reports of racial profiling by police in Missouri are not unusual and are supported by the data submitted by law enforcement officials each year,” said Luz Maria Henriquez, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, in a statement.
As previously reported, no less than the Missouri State Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that African-Americans were 75-85% racially profiled by Missouri law enforcement in previous years. The problem was so bad that the Missouri NAACP issued a travel advisory for black visitors to the state to travel with “with extremely caution.”
”Year after year, the data confirm that black and brown drivers are subject to racial profiling by law enforcement in Missouri—in terms of stops, arrests, and searches,” Henrquez continued. “Yet, for more than twenty years, the state has refused to update its racial profiling law to pinpoint officers who perpetuate this practice.”
“ Racial profiling is bad policing,” the Missouri ACLU head maintained, “… not only discriminating against black and brown people throughout Missouri, but also wasting police resources on encounters with those who are committing no serious crime and pose no danger to anyone.”
Greg Smith’s court date in Missouri for the resisting arrest charge is scheduled for Nov. 16th. He says he plans to sue the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
NCNAACP, OTHERS PROTEST
SHARPE PARDON DELAY
AT GOVERNOR’S MANSION
By Cash Michaels
For the next couple of Fridays, every time Governor Roy Cooper looks outside of his front window at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, he may see demonstrators outside protesting the long, inexplicable delay in granting Donte Sharpe a pardon of innocence for a crime he didn’t commit, but was convicted of and spent time behind bars for.
Sharpe, 46, was released from prison, where he had served at least 26 years, in August 2019 after a Pitt County judge ordered a retrial, and a prosecutor decided not to retry the case. Sharpe later filed for a pardon of innocence based on wrongful conviction, which, when granted, would make him eligible for the maximum $750,000 in state-granted compensation.
But the governor has to grant the pardon first, and is the only one legally that can do so.
Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson told reporters that the governor “plans to make decisions on this and other cases by the end of the year,” but Sharpe’s supporters complain two years is too long, especially since he had spent the majority of his life falsely accused and convicted behind bars.
According to a press release from the NC NAACP, “Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP, began standing vigil in front of the governor’s office (116 W. Jones St.) at noon Wednesday, Sept. 22, and continued through the night. He [was] joined by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, and other faith leaders at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 23.”
Last Friday, North Carolina faith leaders, along with members of Repairers of the Breach, the NC NAACP and NC Second Chance Alliance held a Freedom Friday spiritual vigil and met with reporters, in support of Dontae Sharpe.
“It's not about me,” Sharpe told reporters. “It's bigger than me. I didn't get justice, I haven't gotten justice, but I do have the truth and they can't change that.”
Dr. Spearman said, ““Without the pardon of innocence, his record still shows and bares the mark of a wrong conviction and he’s also not entitled to be paid restitution by the state for the 26 years of his life he spent in jail as an innocent man.”
Sharpe was just 19 years-old when he was arrested and charged for the 1994 murder of 33-year-old George Radcliffe in Greenville. Sharpe had maintained his innocence throughout his prison sentence.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 09-30-21
PFIZER COVID BOOSTER SHOTS NOW AVAILABLE IN NEW HANOVER COUNTY
[WILMINGTON] If you received your Pfizer vaccination shots against COVID-19 earlier this year, you should be able to get a Pfizer booster shot now that the FDA has approved it. Those eligible include - patients 65 and older; patients 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions; patients 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 infection due to certain underlying medical conditions; patients 18-64 at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting. Go to https://www.nhrmc.org/covid-19-vaccine-scheduling to schedule an appointment for a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot. Currently, there is no booster shot for those who got the Moderna vaccine, or Johnson and Johnson.
AMERICAN RED CROSS NEED EMERGENCY BLOOD DONATIONS.
[WILMINGTON] During the course of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it should be no surprise that there is a pronounced blood shortage, and supplies are low. In fact, the American Red Cross says its blood and platelet supplies are the lowest since 2015. It needs to collect upwards of 10,000 additional blood products each week for the next month in order to bring supplies back to normal. To make an appointment to give blood safely, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or visit RedCrossBlood.org, or get the Red Cross Donor App. There are rewards for your blood donation.
DICKS MAXWELL, RHODES APPOINTED TO CFCC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
[WILMINGTON] The president of the New Hanover County NAACP how has a new title - trustee. Ms. Deborah Dicks Maxwell has been appointed to the trustee board of Cape Fear Community College. Ms. Dicks Maxwell, a Wilmington native is also NAACP District Director for Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, new Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties.
Also appointed, retired educator Deloris Rhodes. Ms. Rhodes has served as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, and assistant principal, as well a a founding member of the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, and UNCW’s Dropout Prevention Coalition.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield has been reappointed to the CFCC Trustee Board.
All three terms end on June 30, 2025.