Upon being asked, Muldowney told Sadeq he was stopped because he fit the description for someone suspected of a number of recent auto larcenies in the downtown area. Indeed, there had been a number of downtown auto larcenies, but a police spokesperson said their was no profile of a suspect.
Miller explained that the police department circulates internal "Be On the Look Out" notices, and that Muldowney had seen a BOLO for Joshua Blackburn, a repeat auto larceny offender. According to Miller, Muldowney was operating from memory and thought Sadeq could have been Blackburn, so stopped him for questioning.
The photograph on the left shows Sadeq soon after his interaction with Muldowney. At right is Blackburn, photo courtesy of Miller. Both have similar hair and complexion, as well as relative age, and it seems reasonable that Muldowney could mistake one for the other especially without a photo in front of him.
Miller explained that Blackburn is a person of interest when auto larcenies are committed, and that Muldowney was doing good police work by questioning Sadeq.
Blackburn was arrested Sept. 24, approximately a month before Sadeq was stopped, and is currently in Guilford County Jail on a number of charges, including felony breaking and entering of a motor vehicle. He goes to court Nov. 14 and 16, and again Jan. 3.
It is unlikely that Muldowney knew Blackburn was in jail, and he was acting off the BOLO he was probably shown months ago before Blackburn's arrest, Miller said. A search of the P2C police database does not provide a document to verify which officer arrested Blackburn, though a different officer responded to the initial incident on South Chapman Street.
Sadeq said Muldowney talked with him about his connection to Occupy Greensboro and about his Che Guevara shirt. Such questions don't violate Sadeq's constitutional rights, Miller said, adding that Sadeq consented to the entire encounter.
Miller said after reading the blog post he was concerned Sadeq's rights could have been violated, but said that after looking into the incident he is confident Muldowney acted appropriately.
photo of Sadeq by Alexandria Stewart