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Fayetteville agrees to let court rule on consent search issue

Posted March 12, 2012

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— City officials have agreed to a pending court order that Fayetteville will not try to impose any moratorium on police searches following traffic stops until a lawsuit over the procedure is resolved.

The City Council voted 8-2 in January to halt so-called consent searches of vehicles for 120 days while a consultant investigated claims that the practice disproportionately targets black drivers.

Some residents and local groups, including a minority lawyers association and the NAACP, raised concerns a year ago that the police force may be illegally profiling black drivers.

Police Chief Tom Bergamine and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association decried the council's decision, saying it was unlawful and that consent searches are an important law enforcement tool. They filed a lawsuit seeking to resume the practice, and a judge recently granted an injunction to allow the searches to continue.

The Fayetteville Police Department has changed its consent search procedure by requiring officers to use written consent forms when performing searches.

City Attorney Karen McDonald said that a court hearing scheduled for Monday afternoon was canceled, and Fayetteville and the PBA will agree to let the lawsuit run its course to determine whether the city has the authority to halt the searches.

McDonald said she plans to concentrate on defending the city's actions in the lawsuit.

The city's consultant, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, is expected to present its recommendations Monday night to the Fayetteville City Council.

Outgoing City Manager Dale Iman will be present at the first City Council meeting since he announced Friday that he is resigning. Council members asked Iman to step down because they were unhappy that he opposed their vote to end consent searches.

40 Comments

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  • piene2 Mar 13, 2012

    So you're the one huh? You teach them how to do those wonderful Dukes of Hazard pursuits? Forget all the TV cop stuff and find someone that can teach them basic driving skills!

  • love2dostuff Mar 12, 2012

    @ peopleschamp.

    Agreed. Citing that it's happening at all is absurd. Saying that it's happening all the time is ludicrous. Whaddaya know. Two things we agree on.

    piene2 I work with Fay and Cumberland, Hoke & Raeford County sheriff's teaching them how to pursue fleeing vehicles. There are just as many African American police as anglo. I find your statement inane.

  • love2dostuff Mar 12, 2012

    @ piene2
    My GF from a few years ago was a criminal atty so I would go to district court to watch her do her thing. First appearances would be first on the docket. These are guys who just got arrested last night and this is their first appeareance in front of a judge. These defendants would be so beat up and bloodied and bandaged you'd think they just came from a battlefield. Nope. I don't think I need to say any more. love2dostuff"

    That is so naive. Talk to citizens of color. piene2

    And what makes you think I'm not??

  • mmtlash Mar 12, 2012

    I've lived in central and eastern North Carolina all but 2 of my 30 years and I have actually been in Fayetteville (not counting driving past it on 95) exactly one time. It's mainly a combination of the city not having the best reputation and also not having a reason to visit... I'm not saying police in Fayetteville are evil or anything, but I've definately heard alot of bad things about the place. On the same note however I spent my childhood in Durham which tends to get a bad rap and I don't avoid it or anything since I guess I'm immune to the Durham phobia lol. Maybe Fayetteville isn't that bad if you've lived there for a while?

  • piene2 Mar 12, 2012

    "While the Fay police are much more aggressive in confronting people, I seriously doubt they're killing anybody. My GF from a few years ago was a criminal atty so I would go to district court to watch her do her thing. First appearances would be first on the docket. These are guys who just got arrested last night and this is their first appeareance in front of a judge. These defendants would be so beat up and bloodied and bandaged you'd think they just came from a battlefield. Nope. I don't think I need to say any more.
    love2dostuff"

    That is so naive. Talk to citizens of color.

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 12, 2012

    @ love2dostuff, it was posted that in Fayetteville the police kill blacks and beat whites who decline consent searches. I 100% do not believe that murders and assaults are being committed by FPD based on race after refusing a consent search, such claims are laughable. I do know that Fayetteville is a tough town, and its takes tough people to do tough jobs, but to suggest murders are being committed by FPD over searches is silly. Not even the group complaining about the searches is making such an outrageous allegations. Piene2 says it's happening all the time, I stand by to see all his proof, which should be easy to produce if it occurs as often as he (falsely) claims.

  • love2dostuff Mar 12, 2012

    While the Fay police are much more aggressive in confronting people, I seriously doubt they're killing anybody. My GF from a few years ago was a criminal atty so I would go to district court to watch her do her thing. First appearances would be first on the docket. These are guys who just got arrested last night and this is their first appeareance in front of a judge. These defendants would be so beat up and bloodied and bandaged you'd think they just came from a battlefield. Nope. I don't think I need to say any more.

  • love2dostuff Mar 12, 2012

    You do not know much about Fayettenam, do you? Or for that matter, police "work" in general. KnoxOverstreet III

    Oh, you mean the "don't sit with your back to the door in any restaurant, Fayettenam" or the "never look a police officer in the eye, Fayettenam" or possibly the "lock & load Fayettenam".

    I spend a lot more time there than I want to. Not a nice place to raise a family. PeoplesChamp you have got to realize that police in different areas act differently. Right?

    I spend a great deal of time in Ocean Side CA because until the 27th of this month, I'm still a U.S. Marine. The police there use force almost all the time when confronting a Marine. They're not allowed to confront us without backup. They're told to use "enough force, deadly if warranted to subdue military". Not kidding. They know they can't compete hand-to-hand with the military so force is used often, and applied heavy handed. Military towns are similar that way.

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 12, 2012

    "You do not know much about Fayettenam, do you? Or for that matter, police "work" in general." KnoxOverstreet III

    If you think FPD is killing a bunch of people as suggested for decling searches then you don't know much about Fayetteville nor reality in general. If this is happening all the time, please let us know when and where it occurred. Thepeopleschamp eagerly await your data and facts.

  • KnoxOverstreet III Mar 12, 2012

    "Exaggerate much? Who are all these people you speak of being shot to death by FPD for declining a consent search? For that matter, who are the whites with "broken heads" that declined? Surely you have names and dates all these events occurred?
    thepeopleschamp"

    You do not know much about Fayettenam, do you? Or for that matter, police "work" in general.

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