Mixed signals on former chief's handling of grievances

UPDATE: Assistant City Manager Michael Speedling confirms in a letter to then-police Capt. Charles Cherry that Chief Tim Bellamy did say in a May 2010 command staff meeting: "If you think there is corruption here or don't like it here, you need to turn in your paperwork and get the hell out of here."  

ORIGINAL POST: Among the allegations in a federal racial discrimination lawsuit filed by fired Greensboro police officers Charles Cherry, Joseph Pryor and Robert Reyes is that former Chief Tim Bellamy said during a May 2010 command staff meeting: “If anyone thinks there is corruption in the GPD, they need to turn in their paperwork and get the hell out of here!”

Cherry, then a captain, alleges that he was the only one who had written grievances or complaints alleging corruption at the time. The complaint further alleges that white commanders cheered and applauded the chief’s statement.

The city’s answer, filed by lawyers Julie C. Theall and Patrick M. Kane with Smith Moore law firm, makes a whole-cloth denial of the allegation.

That contradicts the findings of Assistant City Manager Mike Speedling, who investigated a grievance by Cherry about the chief’s alleged remarks. Speedling confirmed to YES! Weekly less than two months after the command staff meeting that he determined through his investigation that Bellamy had made the statement, although Speedling said he found nothing inappropriate about it.

“The chief is expressing to folks that if they have such a lack of confidence in the department, then he has a problem with it,” Speedling said at the time. “And we have a problem with it. He’s putting across that if you have that kind of firm belief that the department is corrupt, you need to back it up with facts. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about that. We haven’t seen any evidence of corruption. He passionately believes the police department is a fine department that doesn’t have corruption in it, and he wants his senior staff to support the department.”

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