Chief Miller weighs in on Sadeq incident, provides evidence

Greensboro police Chief Ken Miller contacted YES! Weekly after reading a blog post about Occupy Greensboro participant Zack Sadeq's interaction with Officer Muldowney.

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

1 comment:

Zack Sadeq said...

Having lived in Greensboro for basically the length of my life to this point, I have come to respect the power of the Police force here in Greensboro.

That being said, in the past I have been treated in a way that's probably best described as near to harassment, for the simple reason that I "fit a description." Pulled over at higher rates than most of my friends, searched more throughly, and at times even asked to disrobe in places in Guilford County, specifically Airports, Courthouses (for Jury duty), etc.

Therefore, on account of such negative interactions with the GPD, I find it hard to take comfort from their press release to the folks at YES! Weekly.

As the article points out, the "BOLO" description that the officers used in the context of apprehending me on that night, has been invalid since Sept. 24th, due to the simple fact that said suspected car burglar was booked at the Guilford County jail on said date.

Keeping my involvement with Occupy Greensboro in my mind, I'd like to know why my fellow protesters and I are approached with arguments where people say things like, "your actions are costing the tax-payers money in Police overtime."

First of all, I'm sure the officers and their families appreciate the opportunity for extra work that they are receiving in this economic downturn as a result of the on-going protests. I'd like to commend them for acting in a responsible, reasonable manner in regards to the on-going protests, and for not reciprocating the violence that were seeing across the country.

But I'd like to ask why the Department was wasting time and resources looking for a man who was already in state custody? Why are events like these not cited more often over a couple of overtime shifts for some hard working rank and file officers?

As I've said, I appreciate the general notion of cooperation the Police in Greensboro continue to bring forth, as well as their fraternal spirit and dedication to the values that uphold this country. But I'd like to reiterate a community rule we have within the Occupy Greensboro movement--- and that is to assume peoples intent is generally good, rather than wrong-meaning. I think that respecting this rule could do well to help all of us residents here in Greater Greensboro and Guilford County.