The Brady/Wray Tapes

I just watched the public release of recordings of former GPD assistant chief Randall Brady and former Chief David Wray.  You can listen here (GPD website)  (Continuing coverage by the N&R with documents).

The secret recording of a July 2004 conversation between Detective Scott “Scooter” Sanders and Brady (and someone else, presumably Wray, in another room) is especially disturbing.  It appears that Sanders himself recorded the conversation and stored it on his own hard drive only for it to be discovered later via a search warrant.  City Manager Mitch Johnson put it this way…

“This tape, discovered by investigators on March 23, 2006, after Wray’s resignation, indicates disregard for individual rights at the highest level of the department. Some in this community have tried to paint the problems in the police department as white versus black. In truth, it is my belief that the problem was simply one of right versus wrong.” Full statement here.

In two other conversations, Brady supplies the RMA people all of the reasoning a boss would ever need to get rid of an employee. 

The excerpts provided from the RMA interrogation, with assistant city attorney Blair Carr attending, occurred long after the city manager had asked Wray about a rumored “black book”.  In the summer of ’05, Wray, probably honestly, denied to his boss any knowledge of such a book.  But shortly after Johnson’s inquiry, Brady confirmed the existence of the “black book” to his boss, David Wray.  Brady claims that Wray then, “…told me to secure it and be sure that I held onto it.â€?  According to Manager Johnson, Wray never reported back what he had discovered about the “black book”, and sent this memo to Johnson instead.  The book was confiscated from the trunk of Brady’s car after the RMA interview.

Based on the recordings released tonight, it is even more clear to me that David Wray had to go.  Also, after hearing Randall Brady’s casual, seemingly business-as-usual disdain for the law, I support the City Council’s efforts to appeal Judge Tilley’s ruling about the disposition of Brady’s pension and benefits.  I hope the citizens of Greensboro never pay Randall Brady one more cent of our money.

(Editing note: For about 10 minutes following initial publication of this post, I inadvertently placed an incorrect name where Scott Sanders’ name should have been. The officer I mentioned was in no way implicated, nor mentioned during tonight’s revelations. My sincere apologies for any concern my raging dyslexia may have caused.)

Update 2/21 – 7:05: This post was edited for clarity.

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26 Comments

  1. The CA
    Posted February 20, 2007 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    David, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Brady say that Wray didn’t know what Brady was doing in the course of the tapes? I also didn’t see the evidence where Wray is shown to have lied about the “Black Book”.

    Also newsworthy is Johnson’s statement ” Some in this community have tried to paint the problems in the police department as white versus black. In truth, it is my belief that the problem was simply one of right versus wrong.â€? I wonder who he was talking about. Sounds like maybe he was referring to the N&R.

  2. Posted February 20, 2007 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    No, on the first two points. Brady made it clear that Wray had asked him to “secure” the book.

    Problem is, as I understand the timeline, is this: Wray assured Johnson he knew nothing of the book but said he would look in to it. After he did, and Brady confirmed the existence of the book to Wray, Wray never let his boss in on it. That was one of the things that Johnson asked Wray to defend on that fateful, lock-out Friday. Johnson and Wray were supposed to meet again on Monday but the press got wind of the lock-out. So instead of meeting on the following Monday, Wray submitted his resignation.

    Agreed on where Johnson may have been laying blame with regards to “black vs white”.

    Irrespective of all of the “black book” talk, the Brady/Sanders recording trumps any “he said, she said” timeline. Agreed?

  3. Posted February 21, 2007 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Wray assured Johnson he knew nothing of the book

    according to who…Johnson? he is very very credible and never mis translates.

  4. jc
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    If they are not going to pay Brady, they should not be paying James or Hinson either. I’m just as outraged at their actions as I am at Bradys.

    Is it because Hinson and James are Black and MitcHell has cowered to the Simpkins PAC?

    Where is the justice?

  5. Posted February 21, 2007 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    First of all, let’s be mature and refer to the people by their names. MitcHell is not particularly clever or amusing.

    Re: paying Hinson. If there is evidence of wrongdoing, he should be punished and should not be paid. My understanding is that there was no evidence of wrongdoing despite every effort by the Chief to prove so.

  6. Posted February 21, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Second of all, how’s about we stick with the matter at hand.

    Brady’s own words have implicated him in some serious wrongdoing. Hinson/James not withstanding – do you jc, or anyone else think Judge Tilley would have had a different opinion on Brady’s pension if the City had been able to present the Sanders/Brady conversation as evidence in court? (They were precluded from doing so under Garrity rules).

  7. Posted February 21, 2007 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I know you want to keep things on topic, David, but I must note the irony of the City releasing these tapes and transcripts when it suits their interest yet, when it came to releasing the RMA report, they absolutely could not because it was “personnel” information and would jeopardize and “ongoing investigation.” Those mighty principles have been discarded for the sake of managing public perception. This confirms that council’s and staff’s objections to to releasing the RMA report were what I thought them to be all along: bullshit.

  8. jc
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Brady retired. The city accepted it. I do not know laws surrounding withholding of retirement benefits. But I will say that just because you might have been fired, I dont think you can withhold their retirement pay. What would be charges against Brady? Why are they fighting Brady so hard on this and ignoring James and Hinson? It appears the city is not applying justice equally. I wonder why?

  9. The CA
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    David, I share some of Ben’s reservations about what Mitchell requested and Wray produced regarding the “black book”. Mitchell hasn’t produced any documentation that I am aware of to support the alleged request to Wray, and sometimes the exact words are critical. I would agree that if Mitchell is accurate, Wray would have a problem on that issue.

    Regarding the pension, the Court got it right. Nowhere in the city contract does it say that the pension is forfeited for the type of acts that Brady is accused of. This is basic contract law, you cannot change the terms without the consent of both parties. If the City fails to pay, they will get sued and they did. in the future, if they want to disqualify people from pensions for certain behavior they need to spell that out in the contract.

  10. Posted February 21, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Your reservations are noted, Sam. I’ll ask the manager about that documentation on Friday.  It should be noted, however, that Wray has never refuted the existence of such a request.

    I’m not saying that the City probably won’t end up paying Brady because of the very reasons you state. But I support their efforts to block the payments in light of Brady’s statements. Such disregard for the rule of law on Brady’s part is pretty damn scary. We paid for it while he was employed and I would rather not pay for it any longer.

    Perhaps it can be construed as a frivolous appeal of Tilley’s ruling, and will waste more money in a losing fight, but as a matter of principle, we ought to try.

  11. Posted February 21, 2007 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I agree with CA. The time to have raised the issue was when Brady submitted his resignation. I think this lands in the “live and learn” column.

  12. Brenda Bowers
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    David, Why are you so eager to jump back over the fence? I personally heard nothing last night that I felt was inflammatory. There was a person with a mental problem harassing the Chief of Police. The Deputy Chief asked a Detective to keep a file on her and try to stop this harassment. He repeated several times that The Chief knows nothing about this. At the end of Brady’s instructions to Sanders he made an off hand statement to the effect that they had to get something on her because The Chief shouldn’t have to put up with this crap and jokingly with a chuckle �we have to do something even if we have to do something to make it look like she done something. “ Come on people! We all make joking remarks and off hand statements that mean nothing!.. This was a private supposed to be a private conversation between to men. It was an off hand comment that both of them understand will not have to be done. There is no doubt from the conversation that this lady obviously a problem and has a history. The way to solve this is to speak to the landlord and find out what he knew and did about the problem. The Detective even relates a case with a man with the same name who has a problem and they laugh about that and make some joking remarks.

    I would really be interested in having a recording of Johnson and Miles discussing how to get themselves out of the mess they have created.

    As for that everlovin’ “black book”, it has been explained again and again as a line up book made up when a woman accused a Black policeman of assault. Of course ALL of the pictures were of Black officers, it would have been dumb to put in pictures of White officers. This whole Black Book thing is a red herring being used by Johnson for some reason as yet unknown to get Wray. When racism wouldn’t fly they switched to accusing Wray of lying to his superiors. No one is or has denied the existence of a Black Book, just the reason for it. The FBI cleared Wray of any racism charge so why continue to use a Black book as proof of racism?

  13. Posted February 21, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “David, Why are you so eager to jump back over the fence?” I take it you can’t understand how I can question the city on one issue and agree with them on others.

    Unlike some here and elsewhere, I don’t think that everything that happens down at city hall is wrong, sinister and worthy of a conspiracy theory. I feel very comfortable agreeing with Mitch Johnson one day and I feel very comfortable disagreeing with him on another. Depends on the issue and what i know about it.

    The wholesale questioning of EVERYTHING that emits from city hall is tiresome.

    As to the rest of your comments, you really ought to read the releases or at least listen to the recordings. If you have already, then you missed a lot of detail.

    I understand about offhand comments, but those were not. Listen again.

  14. Posted February 21, 2007 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “I know you want to keep things on topic, David, but I must note the irony of the City releasing these tapes could not because it was “personnelâ€? information and would jeopardize and “ongoing investigation.â€? Those mighty principles have been discarded for the sake of managing public perception. This confirms that council’s and staff’s objections to to releasing the RMA report were what I thought them to be all along: bullshit.”

    Exactly right, Roch.

    Hypocrisy at its best.

  15. tony
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Of course the city releases this information on a Tuesday knowing the Rhino can’t respond this week.
    I bet there will be some juicy in the Rhino next week.

  16. Posted February 21, 2007 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    “Unlike some here and elsewhere, I don’t think that everything that happens down at city hall is wrong, sinister and worthy of a conspiracy theory.”

    I did not feel that way either…..until the last year or so.

    There is a pattern of deceit at work here, and it is NOT coincidental.

    It does not come from Bledsoe or the Rhino. It comes directly from the city, certain of their employees, our elected officials, and our daily newspaper.

    It is aided and abetted by certain members of the community and the local blogosphere.

  17. The CA
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I also want to go on record as agreeing with Roch’s remarks about the double standard in the release of information. This only lends itself to charges of unfairness and questionable motives and doubts about full disclosure directed to the City and Johnson in particular. I believe this would be a very good issue to address with Johnson on Friday- why the double standard and false claims of legal issues?

  18. Wendell Sawyer
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I find Mitch Johnson’s comment to be mind-boggling. He said, “Some in this community have tried to paint the problems in the police department as white versus black. In truth, it is my belief that the problem was simply one of right versus wrong.�

    Who are these mysterious people who claim that this controversy is “white versus black?� Okay, Mitch, I seem to remember one major player in this controversy who was using the race card.

    News & Record; January 11, 2006:

    Mitch Johnson: “If I was a black officer, I would certainly feel targeted…

    “The activities of this unit [SID} and its continued pursuit of unproven, previously investigated and unsubstantiated charges against certain African American officers created an atmosphere of fear, distrust and suspicion, which undermined the department’s morale and efficiency,� he said.�

    News & Record; January 25, 2006:

    “According to Johnson’s statement minority officers were subject to more intense scrutiny of their actions and missteps, and their authority was undermined.

    “Allegations of racism have roiled the city’s police department since last summer, when a high-profile black lieutenant discovered special intelligence officers trailing him during his shift.�

    It is interesting to note how Mitch Johnson has changed his tune, but he keeps playing the same old song.

  19. Posted February 21, 2007 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Just so’s you know.

    I got home and Time Warner is dead in my house so I have no internet (nor TV).

    After I lodged my complaint and scheduled a service call the operator had the audacity to try and sell me their digital phone service. I cut her short and said, “If I had your phone service, we would not be able to have this conversation… now would we?” Silence.

    Anyway… I’ll be back up sometime tomorrow. I went to a neighbor’s who kindly let me write this in between their children’s homework/.

    Carry on.

  20. Posted February 21, 2007 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    David,

    Clearly “they” are blocking you from the net……sigh….. :)

  21. The CA
    Posted February 21, 2007 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Excellent points, Wendell. I had forgotten about those statements. So it is Johnson and the N&R who put out the racial angle, and both deny it now. Very reckless and damaging to the community.

  22. Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what the scope of your meeting is tomorrow, David, whether it is to discuss new media with the city manager, question him about issues or both. But if you get to specific issues, I think finding agreement from CA and Bubba with my observation suggests a question that is not “partisan.”

    If the chance arises, I would very much like to know why the CIty Manager and the Mayor stood before a room full of reporters and bloggers in Ocotber and, when asked by me about releasing the RMA report, insisted that the information in it was so confidential that even a redacted version would not be forthcoming (transcript) when they now are perfectly content to release selected interviews conducted during the RMA investigation. How do they reconcile their confidentiality concerns they offered while stonewalling the release of the report with their eager public release of selected information gathered during its compilation? Will they now release all interviews and materials collected during the RMA investigation?

  23. jc
    Posted February 22, 2007 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    posted by CA “So it is Johnson and the N&R who put out the racial angle, and both deny it now. Very reckless and damaging to the community.”

    Spot on!

    I think its also wreckless for the city to waste more money and appeal the lawsuit that Brady won. It appears personal by Mitch and the city council.

    If the city was gonna fight anything, they should have challenged paying Bryant Electric an extra $300,000 that the city settled on.

    Anyway you look at, the city is tarnished under current leadership. Greensboro appears to be on a sinking ship
    and we deserve better than this!

  24. Wendell Sawyer
    Posted February 22, 2007 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Roch101:

    Great questions. It would seem to me that the city manager would feel compelled to respond to such reasonable requests.

  25. Posted February 22, 2007 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Wendell. As a follow up, David, if you get a response that suggests things are somehow different now in a way that allows release of this informatin, will you ask if the City will now officially release the RMA report?

  26. Fred Gregory
    Posted February 22, 2007 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Excuse me but wasn’t the ex-Mrs Hinson’s allegation into who was stalking her given an investigation. Now isn’t david Wray entitled to the same and his right of privacy ? The Brady tapes show for the N & R was a desperate ploy by the embattled and sneaky little Stadtdirektor. Shame on the City Council for being a herd of fools .

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Hogg’s Blog » Meet with Mitch on February 22, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    [...] Okay, I’m back… sorry ’bout that. [...]

  2. By Vie de Malchance » Dreams Come True on February 24, 2007 at 1:25 am

    [...] I’ve witnessed the laser intelligence of Roch Smith: …I must note the irony of the City releasing these tapes and transcripts when it suits their interest yet, when it came to releasing the RMA report, they absolutely could not because it was �personnel� information and would jeopardize and �ongoing investigation.� Those mighty principles have been discarded for the sake of managing public perception. This confirms that council�s and staff�s objections to to releasing the RMA report were what I thought them to be all along: bullshit. [...]