NAACP requests meeting with City Council
SALISBURY — Mayor Paul Woodson said he did respond to a request from the NAACP president to meet with City Council, even though Scott Teamer accused him Tuesday night of not replying to a letter.
Teamer told City Council on Tuesday he was still waiting for a real response to his letter asking for a meeting to discuss a civilian review board of the Salisbury Police Department.
The Post on Wednesday obtained copies of Teamer’s letter and Woodson’s reply.
In a letter dated Jan. 16, Teamer told Woodson that several people have complained to the NAACP about police misbehavior “that necessitates your urgent consideration.”
“The police department has informed us that the most current complaints are under investigation,” he said. “It is our estimation that the past internal investigations have resulted in little or no penalty.”
Teamer said the NAACP is concerned about police presence in the African American community and the department’s lack of transparency, as well as “little or no effort made to correspond with us on concerns we have relating to police matters.”
The department has been plagued with issues for more than 20 years, he said. While the NAACP several times has met with various city officials, the meetings “created very little progress,” Teamer said, and asked to meet with the entire council.
In a Jan. 28 reply to Teamer, Woodson wrote that City Council meetings are required to be open to the public, and a majority of council members “would not be able to legally meet with you in the same manner that our city manager, assistant city manager and council representative have been able to meet with you.”
Regarding the request for a civilian review board, Woodson said state law restricts what officials can disclose to the public about disciplinary decisions. Only the General Assembly can grant the ability to share this information with a civilian review board, not City Council, he said.
To date, only four cities have been granted the authority to establish a civilian review board, Woodson said.
“I can assure you that we fully understand and appreciate your goals as the city’s NAACP president, and I have enjoyed our conversations since you began work in that capacity,” he wrote.
City Council on Tuesday eventually agreed to hold a meeting in the West End with the neighborhood and NAACP. The date has not been set, but Woodson said he would like to meet in May.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.