From Ferguson to Greensboro, police departments under fire

By Rebecca Harrelson, Staff Writer

Published in print Aug. 27, 2014

In a video making its circulations around the Internet, Rufus Scales, 27, is seen face down, being handcuffed by an officer on August 4. Upon review of this video you can hear Scales ask “what did I do?” then telling his brother Devin Scales, 22, “make sure you get this on camera, too. I ain’t doing nothing.”

Members of the Greensboro community are concerned that Officer T.B Cole actions to arrest Mr. Scales was unwarranted, with little to no explanation to his arrest.

In a News and Record interview the scene is described; On Tuesday, Devin and his brother Rufus were walking to a nearby store, when the officer drove by and allegedly said “Hey, you morons get off the road.”

“We didn’t say anything, we just moved closer to the curb,” Devin said. “We weren’t really in the road, and weren’t bothering traffic, because there was no traffic flow….And there are no sidewalks there. None.”

Once they moved to the side of the road, Officer Cole “slammed on the brakes,” and asked the brothers to show him their IDs. “We asked ‘What is this for?” Devin said.

The recording had not started yet but attempts were made, Officer Cole allegedly tried to stop the recording of the scenario. The video clip online is a short interaction between Rufus and Cole.

Towards the end of the video two other police cruisers arrive and can be heard saying “get back.” Then a hand reaches out towards the camera and the video goes black.

A meeting was held at the Faith Community Church at 417 Arlington St, just a bit away from UNCG’s campus, on your way downtown. Nelson Johnson is a large advocator for protecting citizens and promoting equality in all areas of Greensboro.

Johnson is a co-pastor of Faith Community Church and executive director of the Beloved Community Center (BCC).

In reviewing the video one can see there is no traffic in the area where Rufus and his brother Devin are walking; a report of the incident by Greensboro PD states that Mr. Scales appeared intoxicated, blocked and interfered with traffic and was swearing. The report also includes that when asked to stop, Rufus refused and physically resisted the officer.

Rufus was arrested Tuesday and released the same day on $50 bond, Officer Cole,33, remains on duty.

The arrest of Rufus Scales took place five days before the shooting and death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In a letter written in complaint to the Greensboro PD, Johnson writes, “The difference is that the Scales incident did not escalate into a situation of someone being shot. But all the elements were there!”

The Beloved Community website shows many thoughts the group has towards eliminating police misconduct and making Greensboro safer.

Amongst their mission statement the Beloved Community Center “envisions and works toward social and economic relations that affirm and realize the equality, dignity, worth and potential of every person.” This grassroots community movement started “long before its official founding 20 years ago.”

In an interview with Aneliese Dar, a UNCG Race and Ethnic Relations lecturer, spoke about racism and her hopes for teaching on this topic amongst the current turmoil in our society.

In Boulder, Colorado she worked in a juvenile detention center and while she worked there she formed the opinion, “this isn’t justice, there is something else going on here.”

Amongst the prejudice, Dar stated that there were also high volumes of tension in the center, between races but also within races. When Dar moved to the south she said she started seeing more and more racial comments, looks, verbal, non-verbal and misunderstood language.

This is Dar’s first time teaching Race and Ethnic Relations. Dar goes on to explain the intensity of speaking about race.

“My greatest hope is conscientious dialog and by that I mean we are all thoughtful about what we say, and we are intentional with our words. I don’t want anyone numb in my class, I want to maintain the tension, it keeps you on edge, keeps you on your toes.”

Amongst reading the news, attending community meetings and being present in a classroom, Dar believes that society is stationary with change.

“We are not progressing, it says it in our textbook, and you see it in the world, its obvious; where we are is almost like a stalemate. Ideologically there is a stalemate, we know that the turmoil continues, it’s growing, what I’m hoping is that my students will be willing to formulate educated, honest, and thoughtful opinions.”

Dar goes on to explain the intensity of speaking about race in and out of the classroom. “Race is not a subject that is on TMZ, this is a real topic, and I want people to feel the tension. The hardest thing she thinks she will face during teaching this course is the emotion “this is people’s identities.” She also is quick to mention that coming at these issues with anger is “going to get us nowhere in society- or even in class, if anything it is going to set us back.”

Dar touched on why many people in the world jump to anger first and productivity later, “I don’t disqualify the reaction of anger- because a lot of times that is coming from a place of hurt; I just want student to realize that is the least productive reaction.”

Dar believes that society won’t be able to win each and every mind.“We need to be ok with the fact that some people will remain ignorant. I will to the best of my abilities share my view points and my experiences, but if you walk away from me and are not ‘converted’ that is ok and I still respect you.”

Categories: News, Rebecca Harrelson


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