REV. SPEARMAN’S NAACP
LAWSUIT WILL CONTINUE
AFTER DEATH SAYS ATTY.
By Cash Michaels
By North Carolina law, the defamation portion of the late former NC NAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman’s lawsuit against National NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson and other NAACP members died with him last week when his lifeless body was discovered near a huge pool of blood in his Guilford County home, according to his attorney.
Generally, pending court action on a defamation claim does not survive the death of a plaintiff.
But Rev. Spearman’s claim of civil conspiracy against Johnson, National NAACP Board Chairman Leon W. Russell, NC NAACP Pres. Deborah Dicks Maxwell, and several other NC NAACP members, will most likely remain in force with the estate of Rev. Spearman serving as plaintiff, says Spearman’s Greensboro attorney, Mark T. Cummings.
In fact, in an exclusive taped telephone interview, Cummings indicated that he’s further researching the possibility of adding new claims to his deceased client’s litigation against members of the civil rights organization he once held dear.
“I’m doing some more research on what types of provisions are available,” Cummings said, noting that the defendants were fighting to have Spearman’s lawsuit moved to federal court even before his shocking death.
Atty. Cummings also alleged that at least three of the North Carolina defendants in Rev. Spearman’s lawsuit may have been sources of false, libelous accusations against the Christian minister published in a scandalous online blog by an ex-convict with a long criminal history, which includes convictions for making bomb threats, and extortion.
Those accusations have been hurtful to Rev. Spearman’s wife, Janice, and family, and Atty. Cummings promises that they will be legally dealt with.
“I’m confident that the civil conspiracy case [can go forward] in some form,…and there can be other claims added, and other plaintiffs,” Cummings said. “Mrs. Spearman, who is suffering tremendously from the continued defamation of her husband, herself can have claims for additional affliction of emotional distress and negligent affliction of emotional distress, so in some form or fashion, there’s going to be action that continues.”
Atty. Cummings also made clear that he dismisses as false a claim reportedly made by a young man (name withheld) to police who was arrested and charged with accosting Rev. Spearman at gunpoint for $2,000.00, that an illicit assault had allegedly occurred on him by Spearman. After the young man, who Rev. Spearman had innocently been helping for several years, was arrested by Guilford County authorities July 13th for allegedly robbing Spearman in his home and stealing his cellphone at gunpoint, he came up with the false allegation to cover his motive upon his arrest, Cummings surmises.
911 recordings back up the alleged robbery claim from Spearman..
That same person of interest, who has a prior criminal record in Guilford County, was released on a $15,100 bond on July 14th , the next day, after a woman (name withheld) paid $100.00, covering the rest with a $1500.00 bond paid by an insurance company, county records show.
According to the Guilford County Clerk of Courts Office, that suspect in the robbery of Rev. Spearman faces five charges, including carrying a concealed gun, robbery with a dangerous weapon, driving left of center (police stopped him on a street in Greensboro after tracking him through Rev. Spearman’s phone which he allegedly had in his possession), simple possession of a schedule 6 narcotic, and possession of marijuana.
He is due for a court hearing on August 10th.
Atty. Cummings believes there may be more to the matter.
“And what I hope I don’t find is a connection to some NAACP members,” he said.
Is there a connection between the suspect in the Spearman robbery, and Dr. Spearman’s death on Tuesday July 19th?
At press time Guilford County investigators have not publicly confirmed any connection, giving few details. No one is reportedly being held by authorities.
The Peacemaker interviewed the first person (name withheld) to see Rev. Spearman’s body on the day of his death.
This witness could only confirm that when Spearman did not show up on July 19th to a public meeting he was expected to attend, he went to the home with one of Spearman’s relatives.
He found Rev. Spearman’s body downstairs in the basement, on a couch, in a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. His body was slumped over, and a trail of blood from the top of the couch culminated in an enormous pool in front of it on the floor, so large that the witness says he could not approach the body to see any wounds, or anything in Spearman’s hands.
The witness says he knew, however, based on his observation, that Dr. Spearman had to have been deceased for some time. That’s when EMS was called.
Spearman’s body was discovered sometime after 5 p.m. July 19th.
News of his death was not reported until approximately midday Wednesday, July 20th.
However, according to an NAACP member, word of Rev. Spearman’s “suicide” was emailed out to NC NAACP members in Wayne County on that Wednesday at 10:25 a.m by NC NAACP Secretary Sylvia Barnes:
“I am sad to inform you that our past president, Rev. Anthony Spearman committed suicide on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. I have no further information at this time. This was announced at the national [NAACP] convention and I also understand many of the TV stations. Dr. Spearman lived in Greensboro.”
The National NAACP was meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. at the time. If what Ms. Barnes wrote was true, how could Dr. Spearman’s death be announced as a “suicide” at 10:25 a.m. the next day, when here in North Carolina authorities still haven’t announced details of their investigation over a week later?
Atty Cummings says Rev. Spearman did not own a gun, and is certain his death was not a suicide because of the high moral and spiritual character he maintained in the community.
Cummings adds that he’s been in constant contact with Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers about the case, but he’s still requesting that state authorities “…assist in a full and fair investigation.”
“In fact, that is the family’s request,” Cummings said.
Scurrilous rumors about Rev. Spearman’s death have circulated in Greensboro, and throughout the state, fed by the fact that there has been no word from Guilford County authorities as to what th medical examiner has determined to be the cause of death.
Dr. Spearman's body was released to his family on approximately July 27th.
Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman’s grief-stricken family, led by his beloved widow, Janice, issued the following statement in tribute.:
“The Spearman Family is utterly devastated by the transition of our patriarch, Reverend Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. He was a man of strong conviction who loved his family with every ounce of his being. We solicit your prayers as we grieve this insurmountable loss and request your consideration and privacy as we go through this season of bereavement.”
Spearman served as NC NAACP president from 2017 until 2021, succeeding the Rev. Dr. William Barber, who issued a statement upon word of his death saying," My heart is broken....I have lost a true brother in the struggle..."
Spearman was ousted in a controversial Oct. 2021 election by New Hanover County NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell, and contested that election based on alleged irregularities the national office reportedly ignored.
He was eventually suspended by National NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson prior to filing his lawsuit.
Dr. Spearman's funeral was held Tuesday, August 2 at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in Greensboro. His body was then sent back to his native Detroit, Michigan for burial.
[Editor's Note - Afrique Kilimanjaro assisted in the research of this story.]
BATTLE STRATEGIES EVOLVING
BETWEEN BEASLEY AND BUDD
U.S. SENATE CAMPAIGNS
By Cash Michaels
An election analysis
It’s the last week in July during an election year, and the biggest race to be settled in North Carolina this coming November is between Democrat and former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, and Republican 13th Congressional District Congressman Ted Budd.
They’re competing to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the outgoing Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). A victory either way significantly strengthens either respective party in the U.S. Senate.
But either Beasley or Budd have to get there first, and thus far, the campaign battle strategies are telling.
Budd, a conservative Republican, has the backing of embattled former President Donald Trump, the conservative economics political nonprofit group Club for Growth, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
The last three are just as important for Budd as Trump’s singular support. They are paying for ads that the Budd campaign doesn’t have to, picking Beasley apart on being a “tax-and-spend liberal,” soft on sexual predators who harm children, and being an extremist on abortion rights.
The last charge is most telling. On the heels of the explosive decision by the U.S. Supreme Court weeks ago to overturn a woman’s right to choose, there had to be some way to bolster Ted Budd’s support of that campaign-killing ruling, and undermine whatever energy it gave the Beasley.
So Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America immediately employed a successful 2020 campaign tactic that worked well for Republicans in North Carolina - they went door-to-door with powerful anti-Beasley campaign door hangers that said, “Most North Carolinians , whether pro-life or pro-choice, believe there should be reasonable limits on abortion, BUT NOT CHERI BEASLEY!”…further adding that Beasley is “too extreme on abortion.”
Add that onto television ads that position Beasley as being soft on hardened criminals who hurt children, and is a liberal Democrat who just wants to be elected to recklessly spend taxpayers money, and these false messages from the Budd corner are an attempt to soften Cheri Beasley up before the fall campaigns head into the stretch in November. It’s a strategy that aims to take away many of Cheri Beasley’s advantages - she’s a sharp, attractive, highly accomplished, scandal-free Black woman who ran statewide in her last campaign, only to fall 400 votes short out of over 4 million cast.
She is better known that Ted Budd, a Republican small town gun shop owner who has been a Congressman since 2017. Beasley’s list of personal and professional accomplishments far exceed his.
And yet, just the Trump endorsement alone is powerful enough to match that, especially in the predominately conservative rural ares of North Carolina.
So what is Cheri Beasley’s strategy?
In her most recent television ads, she has positioned herself on the side of those who care about issues like lowering the cost of prescription medicine like insulin, working hard in partnership with law enforcement to stop the smuggling of illegal drugs into North Carolina, and supporting a woman’s right to choose in spite of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Beasley is also positioning herself as being apolitical, siding with neither Democrats nor Republicans on certain issues, thus trying to make herself a harder political target for Budd and his forces to hit. Having a campaign war-chest presently that exceeds Budd’s helps tremendously in that regard.
When the Ted Budd campaign does start spending money, there’s no question they’ll do so attempting to further define Cheri Beasley as a “radical” who wants to go to Washington, D.C. and join with an unpopular Democrat President Biden, Vice Pres Kamala Harris, and “AOC” to make life tougher for North Carolinians.
Beasley’s campaign challenge is to keep its cool, and make sure that the former Chief Justice remains dignified and knowledgeable about the issues that most North Carolina voters care about. She is only polling one or two points behind by some conservative polls, seven or eight points in others.
Her campaign’s job is to show that Budd has been in Congress since 2017, and has little to no positive record to show for it. It maybe why Budd refused to debate his opponents during the primaries. Can Beasley’s campaign exploit that to her benefit? Stay tuned!