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Greensboro Police Officer Fired After Sebastian Village Investigation

12:13 AM, Jun 14, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, N.C. -- After an internal investigation, one Greensboro police officer is out of a job. Another was suspended without pay for one day. Plus, the city of Greensboro has released documents about the internal investigation that resulted in those disciplinary actions.

However, Greensboro Police say actions officers took in two separate incidents at Sebastian Village Apartments in April 2013 were lawful. 

READ: Synopsis Of Sebastian Village Incidents

On April 16, officers responded to a call about a Domino's Pizza delivery driver getting robbed. While officers tried to contact people inside a Sebastian Village Apartment, they believed there could be emergency circumstances going on inside. So, officers say they entered the apartment to make sure no one was in danger.

On April 27, police responded to what they called "a large and unruly group" with alcohol. Four people were arrested. The internal investigation said one officer did not report his use of force when he responded to that party.

The department suspended Officer R.P. Scarborough for one day without pay. Police Chief Ken Miller says former Officer J.R. Payne, did not tell the truth during the internal investigation. As a result, Chief Miller fired Payne.

Chief Miller says Payne changed his statements multiple times, could not recall key parts about what happened and admitted he made an offensive comment at the jail.

"He was terminated because of his lack of forthrightness during the course of the investigation, not because of his actions on the scene or his actions at the jail. In totality, we have to have truthfulness on the part of our officers. He was a young officer, on the department for a year," Chief Miller said.

Chief Miller says he understands there has been a history of racial tension between officers and African Americans. Now, he and his team are looking at training and accountability racial profiling policies.

Several organizations, including the local chapter of the NAACP argue the police department needs to make major changes to build more trust.

"There are deep concerns about distrust and until we deal with this in a very open and transparent way, we are going to continue to have these problems. It's a veneer. A cover-up. A pretence that things are well, when they are not," NAACP President Cardes Brown said.

City Manager Denise Turner Roth says the city is exploring a stronger Complaint Review Committee. The committee could help address complaints like those filed against the officers.

Despite the work city leaders say still needs to be done, a recent community survey found 80 percent of the people in town have a positive impression of the police department.

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