August 20, 2009
|Cornell, Blake Gang Up Against the Police|
Last week Jorge Cornell, King J, the inca of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation of North Carolina, and former Greensboro Police Officer A.J. Blake, held a press conference. Blake was fired from the Greensboro Police Department after he was accused of knocking his girlfriend down and grabbing another woman by the neck when she tried to intervene during a party at the Police Club last winter
When in the Police Department, Blake had been a member of the gang unit. This is a group of police officers who are supposed to be out keeping track of gang members and arresting them when they break the law.
There is only one person in Greensboro who could unite a gang leader and an ex-police officer who was in the gang enforcement squad to attack the Greensboro Police Department and that is the Rev. Nelson Johnson.
Johnson was one of the ringleaders of the Death to the Klan march that resulted in the Klan Communist shoot out on Nov. 3, 1979. While five of Johnson's compatriots died in the gun battle with the Klan-Nazi group, Johnson survived by hiding under a car and has turned that one event into a career. That career involves fighting everything the Greensboro Police Department does. In this case, Johnson has found two young men who have reason to hate the Police Department and united them.
Blake was found not guilty of two counts of assault in a jury trial in Guilford County Superior Court in July. That was the second time Blake was tried for those assaults; the first time in District Court in front of a judge he was found guilty on both counts, but he appealed it to Superior Court.
Blake had a hearing before a disciplinary board in the Police Department and after hearing the evidence and Blake's defense, that board made up of police officers recommended that Blake be fired. Blake appealed that firing to interim City Manager Bob Morgan who said this week that he had not had time to review the case. So it is still on appeal and there is still a chance that Blake will be reinstated.
Cornell is the North Carolina leader of the Latin Kings, one of the largest and best organized gangs in the country. Cornell is also an at large candidate for Greensboro City Council. Cornell was arrested downtown on Saturday, August 1 when he refused to step out of a police officer's way so the police officer could talk to some of members of Cornell's gang. The police say that the Latin Kings were flashing gang signs at rival gang members, an action that often leads to violence. Cornell says they were just waving at friends. But Cornell admits that he was blocking the police officer's path and was purposefully preventing the police officer from getting past him to talk to members of his gang because Cornell said he didn't think the police needed to talk to them.
Cornell says that he is all about peace these days, but when asked why he didn't simply step aside when a police officer asked him to, he said that the police officer got in his face and disrespected him.
At the press conference Cornell made a big point about being arrested in front of his daughters, but in the video of the arrest on Cornell's campaign website he doesn't try to comfort his daughters or tell them that he is going to be all right. He also doesn't ask the police officers not to handcuff him in front of his kids. What he does do is start shouting that he is a City Council candidate, which made it look like he wanted to be arrested for the publicity.
Cornell and Blake agree that the Police Department gang squad is targeting gang members. If Blake had been in vice and narcotics instead of the gang squad, it makes you wonder if he would be holding press conferences with a drug dealer talking about how the Police Department targeted drug dealers and had officers following them around.
If the gang unit is not targeting gang members then it should be disbanded. One of the ideas is to make Greensboro a place where gang members don't want to go because they know that when they break the law they will end up behind bars.
Blake, in his statement at the press conference, made a host of unfounded accusations about City Councilmember Mike Barber. Blake says that Barber said he would get the charges dropped if Blake would drop out of the 39 police officer lawsuit against the city based on an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint. The statement doesn't pass the smell test and Barber denies saying anything remotely like that. Barber does admit to making some phone calls to try and help Blake after Blake showed up in his office one day saying that he was a constituent and needed help.
I know Barber made some phone calls for Blake because he called me. We politely disagreed about the facts of the case and that was that.
But the accusation that Barber offered to get the charges dropped if Blake would drop out of the EEOC lawsuit is downright silly.
First off, Barber doesn't have the authority to have charges dropped and he knows it. Secondly what difference would it make to Barber or to the city for that matter whether they are being sued by 39 or 38 police officers.
Barber could lose his law license for making a deal like that. Why on earth would he risk his livelihood for an ex-police officer who wandered into his office telling wild stories and asking for help?
Blake does tell some wild stories. According to Blake the reason his fellow police officers lied about him and got him arrested is because there is a lot of swinging in this group "including the exchange of wives and sex partners."
Speaking of the night of the party at the Police Club which led to his arrest, Blake said, "A lot of the officers at the Police Club that night have engaged in multiple sex relationships with each other's girlfriends and wives. After I left the Club they went back inside and discussed the incident that I was involved in at the Club among themselves and put together the story that resulted in assault charges against me that were eventually exposed and defeated in court. I do not think the conduct of the police officers at the Club reflected the professional standards expected of police officers, but rather a contradictory bunch of statements tainted by a drive to cover-up sexual intimacies. I cannot understand why the Chief could not see this."
Blake admitted that to his knowledge no spouse or girlfriend swapping went on the night of the party. He also said that he had never participated in any such activity or seen any such activity. He said he had no photos or any other evidence that these activities took place but that it was common knowledge in the Police Department.
On the night of the party Blake admitted to being "extremely intoxicated." He also said he broke his cell phone and threw it on the ground, he kicked his girlfriend's car and started to walk to a friend's house even thought it was about 9 degrees that night. He also admitted having an altercation with the woman he was accused of assaulting. He said that she came at him outside the club like she was going to hit him and he put his hand on her upper chest and pushed her back to "create space."
In Blake's prepared statement at the press conference he had some more accusations to make. He said, "In a very related matter, it has come to my attention that a tape, involving Police Officer Scott Sanders and another unnamed person, discussed their desire to get some charges on me to get rid of me and get me off the discrimination lawsuit. They said this would greatly weaken the case of the 39 officers of color against the City. According to sources in communication with me, the Greensboro Police Department is in possession of that tape and Chief Bellamy is aware of its existence. I respectfully request Chief Bellamy to acknowledge and make public the tape, if such a tape exists."
Blake later explained that he had not heard the tape and didn't know if it actually existed but had just heard about it.
Blake's statement, which he read word for word, was filled with accusations for which Blake offered no proof and like this one against Sanders which Blake even said he had doubts about himself.