Ã‚Â Below is a column I wrote for publication in Wednesday’s N&R.
After receiving it, editorial head Allen Johnson called with some concerns about the content.Ã‚Â He rightly pointed out that much of what I wrote is speculative in nature and that he was reticent to publish these speculations.
I told him I understood completely and that I was sorryÃ‚Â didn’t have the time to alter the submission or compose another column for this week’s slot (my deadline was at noon).Ã‚Â We agreed to let someone else have my slot this week and I will make another effort in two weeks’ time.
All that said, I still wanted to get this out.Ã‚Â Good thing I’ve got a weblog.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Here it is, in all of its speculative, non-professionally editedÃ‚Â (and, now,Ã‚Â hyperlinked)Ã‚Â glory.
Back in April of 2006, my very first column in the N&RÃ‚Â concerned itself with all of the investigations that, at the time, seemed to focus on the Greensboro police and how former police chief David Wray ran the department.Ã‚Â I quoted from city councilman Tom Phillips who characterized what little information had been made public in those early months as being only, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦the tip of the icebergÃ¢â‚¬?.
Boy howdy.Ã‚Â When Tom is rightÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Tom is right.Ã‚Â But my guess is that even he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how expansive that iceberg might be at the time.
According to information from GreensboroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website, the state Attorney General reviewed the known information about what was going on in the GPD in March of 2006.Ã‚Â That office saw enough at the time to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦initiate a criminal investigation and assignment of SBI resources.Ã¢â‚¬?Ã‚Â So for at least 16 months, the SBI has been quietly going about its investigative business.Ã‚Â How wide-ranging that investigation has become is anyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guess, but I get the feeling that its not just about David Wray anymore.
As things were heating up during the months before his resignation in January of 2006, former chief Wray was asked to explain why certain investigations were being conducted across multi-jurisdictional lines and where they were headed.Ã‚Â Not having the privilege of saying everything he wanted to say at the time, he famously stated that reporters should, Ã¢â‚¬Å“connect the dotsÃ¢â‚¬? between what was known.Ã‚Â
There werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a lot of known dots for us to connect then, but two years later we appear to have plenty of them.Ã‚Â
Dots are everywhere:Ã‚Â Drug dealing dots.Ã‚Â Check-kiting dots.Ã‚Â Prostitution dots.Ã‚Â Project Homestead-related dots.Ã‚Â Even assassination-planning dots popped up when we read that certain characters were reported to be in the planning stages of doing in best-selling author Jerry Bledsoe.
BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cops in Black & WhiteÃ¢â‚¬? has been published in the Rhino Times nearly every week for a year now.Ã‚Â The serial has brought us Ã¢â‚¬Ëœup close and personalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with the seamier side of Greensboro as he adds to the dots that just keep on coming.Ã‚Â (Latest installment here)
Shortly after publication of Chapter 26 of BledsoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s story back in March of this year, I ask the author how many more chapters we should expect before he finally lets his keyboard take a rest.Ã‚Â His response was, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I should have sub-headed Chapter 26 as being the end of the storyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s prologue.Ã‚Â I could go on for years.Ã¢â‚¬?
During what has been an almost complete black-out of new information emanating from city hall regarding all of the ongoing investigations, local blogs are trying to keep up with all of dots as they appear.
On Joe GaurinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s blog last week, former District Attorney candidate Wendell Sawyer speculated as to what is going on with all the disconcerting official silence since the SBI and FBI started delving into their own brand of dot connecting.Ã‚Â Sawyer opined, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦the federal investigators are not handicapped by political considerations and the compulsion to rush to a conclusion of the investigation. Instead, the feds are patiently and quietly gathering evidence in this complicated puzzle. The same was true in the FBI investigation into the video poker/lottery/Jim Black scandals.Ã¢â‚¬?
Sawyer has a point.Ã‚Â Although none of us really knows where these investigations will lead, the sheer length of time and resources being brought to bear leads me to believe that those agencies are going places that few outsiders ever expected.
In the current vacuum of information surrounding where all of this investigating is headed, all we can do is fill the void with what we know.Ã‚Â And what we know is that with every new dot that appears through the efforts of those looking for and trying to speculate as to how they are connected, the depth and breadth of that iceberg Councilman Phillips predicted so long ago is still looming before us.