The Greensboro City Council convened on Tuesday, November 1 to discuss the recognition of the Guilford College/New Garden area as a heritage community, recent Greensboro police violence, and the annexation of land on Trosper Rd. into corporate limits.
First on the agenda was to discuss the recognition of the Guilford College/ New Garden area as a heritage community. It is home to a myriad of notable people, such as Vestal Coffin, the first conductor of the Underground Railroad in Guilford County, and Dolley Madison, the fourth First Lady.
Following the vote, time was allowed for the public to speak to the City Council to voice their concerns. All speakers discussed recent events regarding police brutality and the the police department’s handling.
William Herd was first to speak, and argued that there should be a zero tolerance policy for police officers who mistreat and wrongly accuse suspects. This is in response to the Dejuan Yourse and Officer Travis Cole incident, where Cole beat Yourse and used derogatory language without allowing Yourse to explain his innocence. After the incident, Cole suffered no repercussions but simply resigned, which angered many in the community.
“Sworn officers are assigned a deadly weapon and a badge of authority, therefore they should be held to higher standard of morality and performance than any other occupation,” said Herd. “The same standard must also apply to supervisors. The reason we have a police department is that the citizenry cannot properly govern themselves…The Yourse incident is one out of decades of evidence that prove that we cannot rely on the police to police itself.”
The remaining speakers gave statistics and personal testimonies of police brutality and criticized the police department for inadequately handling police brutality situations.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan followed the public speakers and mentioned the creation of town hall meetings to give Greensboro residents more say regarding Greensboro’s problems.
“I would like to see the council work together with input from the community about what [topics] should be covered,” said Vaughan. “We should have an engaged community. Also, there should be people not talking at each other, but to each other. That will lead to progress and allow for us to have effective dialogue.”
Lastly, the City Council discussed the proposed rezoning of land on Trosper Road to allow for other businesses or housing developments to be built on the property.
Those who supported the rezoning argued that it would bring in profits and would not greatly disturb the surrounding area. The opposition refuted that the plan was too extensive and would consider supporting the proposal only if the project was reduced to a lower intensity. The Council agreed to discuss the proposal at a later time so the details of the project can be discussed and the plan can gather more support.
The next city council meeting will be held Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30 p.m. at 300 W Washington Street. Meetings are open to the public.