To Pitt County NAACP Executive Officials,
I have been called and alerted on a very unfortunate incident that took place in the downtown night area of the city of Greenville on Saturday evening or early Sunday after 12 am, of the arrest of one of our only two elected blacks on the Greenville city council, Ms. Kandie D. Smith.
Upon getting the call about the incident I called Ms. Smith and is very disturbed. Ms. Smith was in the down town area to observe the activities and actions of the citizens and police in the downtown and night area. This was being done as a result of numerous reports of police brutality and the use of excessive force against blacks and other people of color in the down town and night area. Ms. Smith was approach by two white Greenville Police officer who indicated that she was trespassing and needed to move on. She informed them that she was not in no-trespassing area, and why wasn’t they addressing whites who was in the same immediately area. When she proceeded to move further the office grabbed her and put her in a choke hold, twisted her arm, put her in handcuffs and put her under arrest. She identified herself as a member of city council and he stated that he didn’t care. She was arrested and placed under bond. The black police chief refused to demand her release. We have another problem added to the many our branch have already received of this similar type action from white police officers who are out of control. We have met with the police chief on several occasion along with the city manager in order to address these complaints. This is just an example of the magnitude of the problem of police misconduct and the continue use of excessive force on our citizens of color in Pitt County as well as other areas. They don’t care what your titles are and what position you may hold, you are still judge first by the color of your skin in this country.
For over 100 years the NAACP’s mission has been to fight racial discrimination; although victories have been won through our efforts and the efforts of many, many others, there are still great struggles ahead.
One of the most important is in the field of criminal justice. We know race is the main determinant of treatment in the criminal justice system, it determines the frequency of arrest, the gravity of the charge, treatment at trial, and severity of punishment.
Our task is to fight for fairness and justice in the system, to ensure that race and racial discrimination play no role. As you all know our branch along with other units are the front-line troops of the movement for justice and fair play.
I have made calls to the mayor and city manager, but I am yet to have received a return call from either. I am also in touch with other civil right organizations in the area and also Craven county since we are dealing with similar issue in that area.
See related: Greenville city councilwoman arrested
FIRST ON WITN: Greenville City Council Member Arrested – See picture
Note: I met Ms. Smith during a Get Out The Vote Rally back in November when she ran for Pitt County City Council. I was also in her presence during the candidates forum in April. Although I don’t know her on a personal note she does not seem to be a person who would disrespect the law.
I am scheduled to attend a meeting in Greenville on Tuesday night and I am quite sure this will be on the agenda however this is not the main thang.
Check back later for an update on this unfortunate incident.
I edited the letter above.