City Council Discusses Greensboro Police Lawsuits

7:25 PM, Aug 27, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO -- A near decade long legal battle might soon be over.

The eight lawsuits filed by current and former Greensboro Police officers will be on the court docket October 7 in Federal Court.

The trial might begin that day or any day after then, according to Greensboro City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan.

Mayor Robbie Perkins called a closed-door session Tuesday to consult with council and city attorneys about the lawsuits, filed by several officers, who allege racial discrimination and unfairness by the Greensboro Police Department.

A city spokesperson told WFMY News 2 the total for the eight lawsuits is $2.1 million.

"Our concern is always defending the city, ensuring in cases where the city did something wrong, we deal with that  but here the city felt it has done nothing wrong, the council feels we have done nothing wrong, so they feel it's appropriate to spend that money," explained Shah-Khan. "We have a great defense team, folks we have a lot of confidence in, we think it's money well spentespecially considering the allegations that have been made against the city."

One of the lawsuits was filed by James Hinson, a captain with the Greensboro Police Department. Hinson alleged he was unfairly targeted by police investigations because he is black. An additional 39 black officers also filed lawsuits, claiming the department kept a "black book" with pictures of black police officers. These plaintiffs allege they were the targets of frivolous investigations.

Those suits will be the first tried in court. The city is asking that each case is tried separately. 

"The city has filed its motions for summary judgment on all those cases and we hope to prevail which will cut down on the number of cases, it could eliminate them entirely," explained Shah-Khan.

A federal judge dismissed former police chief David Wray's discriminatory discharge claim, according to a city spokesman. 

Wray suggested he was fired unfairly during the "black book" scandal because he is white. 

"This has been a difficult period for the city of Greensboro and at the end of this, the city is going to find itself in a good place, these officers will too.

"At the end we will move on as a group of people, as citizens of Greensboro and hopefully its something the city can be proud of," said Shah-Khan.

The city is receiving the help of two law firms to assist with the case load. 

To date, the cost for all cases is $2,167,152.65. Shah-Khan says the city will spend more when the cases go to trial, but how much more is not known.

The city has spent $167,788.52 on Hinson's case and $788,574.83 on the 39-person case. 

To see a breakdown of costs for all the lawsuits, click on the documents attached in this article. 

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