Police promotions raise racial concerns for councilman

By Brie Handgraaf

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The most controversial topic at Monday’s Rocky Mount City Council was not on the agenda, but was brought up by Councilman Andre Knight at the end of the 4 p.m. meeting.

“For the first time in the last 30 years there is no person of color in the command staff (of the police department),” Knight said. “This action has taken this department backwards, not forward, in time.”

Police officials said the ranks of lieutenant and above are considered command staff, and a black and the first Latino lieutenant were promoted during the recent selection process. The two officers who were promoted to captain from four candidates – three white and one black – were white.

“We want all of our departments to represent the population, but at the same time we established a process for all the men and women of the department to have the chance to compete fairly,” City Manager Charles Penny said.

Councilman Reuben Blackwell said training readies candidates for the promotional process and more development is necessary.

Council members also approved the bid and allocation for Ford’s Colony Phase 4 infrastructure. A bond company will reimburse the city for the more than $3.1 million of work needed to allow 117 lot owners to build homes on their land.

Also approved at the meeting was support for a Rural Hope Grant application for a downtown Opportunities Industrialization Center medical facility.

Blackwell – who is the president and CEO of OIC – recused himself from the vote, which was supported by all other council members.

Blackwell did ask about a nearly $96,000 bid for 20 in-car video systems for the police department.

Chief Moore said the cameras will replace VHS systems in 12 patrol vehicles and add video systems to eight other cars.

Other action taken at the council meeting includes:

  • An agreement with N.C. Wesleyan College for use of the Slick Family Foundation Tennis Complex.
  • Seventeen taxi and limousine rights for drivers to operate in Rocky Mount.

Police Chief James Moore and the department will celebrate the internal promotions of officers at 3 p.m. Friday at the Booker T. Theatre.


I have a friend that lives in

I have a friend that lives in Detroit and he told me some of the city council members doing everything they could to bring race into everything the informed people in Detroit now call them the Clowncil Andre Knight would fit in perfect if he wants to relocate just read the Detroit Free Press and you will see


This is how Andre runs! Blame the Whites.....Have 2 houses. (one you live in, and one you ignore just to be able to run in that district) And oh yeah.... Fight a guy in a wheel chair! What a great asset to Rocky Mount!

Watch a segment of DJango

When they arrive at the candyland plantation they are met by a black male named stephen, black people in rocky mount this is your police chief (uncle tom, house negro,the straw boss). thank god for people like andre knight who continue to fight for the rights of black and hispanic people throughout this city because he is not afraid, he will continue to get my vote and the vote of my family so mr. knight thank you and continue the fight.on the other hand, because a man skin color is black does not mean that he is black can you say (Clarence Thomas),this question is to the black community how many times have you seen james moore or charle penny in your neighborhood not many if at all!james moore does not want to be here he has seeked and continues to seek employment elsewhere (fayetteville pd) ,i think it is time for penny to retire and take his house man with him. council people especially those seeking reelection this year, it is time to change the city managers office and those that he bought here.the fight continues


Mr Knight, what exactly does color or race have to do with promotions? Was it in the job description? The minority at this day and time in RMT is the caucasian people just in case you didnt realize it. Look at the city statistics on percentage of races. We need to quit looking at color and what the person is QUALIFIED to do. Black, Hispanic Caucasian alike all have equal opportunity to better themselves by playing the part in which they were hired to do. Not whine and cry because they didnt get it because of discrimination. There are more African American people in this city and they are NOT the minority anymore. This goes to show the intelligence of the City Councilman. Did he/you get promoted because of his/your color? so, if there isnt enough blacks then we just put some there based on color not education and their ability to fulfill that position??? Did you not notice Cheif Moore is Black? When if the last time we had a white chief? Its based on qualifications...Slavery and racial discrimination ended yrs ago so do just that... LET IT GO. Its people like you and Mr Barber from the NAACP that keep this going. Humans are not born to hate and discriminate... Its a learned behavior so start teaching your children to do just that. Lead by example and quit feeling sorry for yourself. Actions speak louder than words. Color doesnt make the person its the way they perform their job that gets them promoted. Just as if you want to keep doing your job and move up you need to DO YOUR JOB. Since moving to NC from the North I have seen so much discrimination here. This plainly doesnt exist in the North. The two that got promoted work hard and deserved it. It was not on a basis of color. Im sick to death of white, black, hispanic. We are Americans and all have equal opportunity to go to school to better ourselves ie: Promotions.

Race-Based Politics Alive and Well in RM

I regret that our new Chief and dedicated officers have to be subjected to such grandstanding by politicians who have but one agenda - race, especially during such trying times for public safety. Moreover, I'm confident that the selections were based on candidate qualifications, education, promotional process scores, and the organizational involvement of the candidates. Unfortunately, that type of sound reasoning doesn't satisfy those who see everything in terms of black versus white. Welcome to Rocky Mount Chief; now you see why we cannot rise above our own misery. But don't worry, next time the high level promotional decisions will be made for you, either directly or indirectly.

AMEN......and may I add

AMEN......and may I add "Thank You" officers for the outstanding job you're doing for this town no matter what your race may be......


Everytime I turn around I here the race card being used. Look at the new hires for the city and see the ratio between whites and minorities. Who are the real minorities now anyway? The city fire department recently recalled job offers sent to the best qualified individuals because they were not minorities.I can tell from first hand experience that if a minority is qualified enough for a promotion then they will get it.It's supposed to be the best for the job and based on test scores but they add little thing called based on "Chiefs discretion or Dept head discretion". Which means that the best person for the job isn't always the one given it.The counsil has every dept head head so scared that they have to promote these individuals.At what point do we stand up say enough is enough. The race card roles are getting reversed if you haven't seen it or experienced it.Rocky Mount....you are no longer the minorities anymore.The NAACP preaches this created equal and skin color but all they ever do is stir up skin color.The Fire department has a private all black group called the bucket brigade. To my knowledge no whites,asians,hispanics or any other then blacks are members. This is a private group and no other race was asked to be apart of it.This is racial divide within a fire department that we rely on everyday to save our lives and property.For the chief of the department to allow this is beyond me.Reverse the roles and start a all white or hispanic group and the NAACP will be here the the REV speaking lawsuits and causing more issues then were here in the first place.At what point do we stand up and say this isn't right!!!!!The race card is getting used up and its time to do something about it. If your seeking a job within a city that is torn and its leaders are basing everything on your skin color then come on and join the team.The future of the city rest in our leaders and as far as I can see it doesn't look too bright.The city on the rise......murders,robbery,theft,babies having babies, and on and on. Thats on the rise!When I was growing up I briefly had a great grandmother. Now you see great great great great grandmothers. And guess what??????When your grandmother is in her 20/30's is not a good thing. It means babies are having babies and don't know how to take care of them! Dont get me started on the city on the RISE! JOB HUNTING NOW!!!

I understand that City

I understand that City Council withheld application and interview process for policemen because not enough minorities applied? Plenty of applicants just not enough "minorities". (Meaning blacks and hispanics).This saddens me because we are at half the amount of officers we had a yr ago. Maybe if the "minorities" cared about being safe they would have applied...This is discrimination all in itself. I think the new minority needs to start calling and playing the discrimination card when indeed thats what it is...Look out Mr Barber...


This department needs diversity, they have fallen in the ditch with the rest of the departments in the area. There are people leaving as fast as they are coming. You have several officers that do NOTHING but ride around and then you have officers that go out there and BUST THEIR BUTT! It is sad that the ones doing Nothing get promotions. The Chief from what I understand is looking other employment. I agree that these positions should be held by those qualified for the job, but I don't think it is an "equal opportunity" employer.


This is one reason racism will never go away. It is brought up at every miniscule opportunity. Would Mr. Knight have said anything if all selected were black and three whites were not selected, for example?


Maintaining exceptionally high standards and have PEOPLE that meet those stands should be most important. It appears we’ve lowered the standards because we still have one of the highest CRIME RATES in the State. Shouldn’t we be more worried about that situation??? I don't go "Downtown" because of the crime rate. I don't care how beautiful it is. I also don't care WHO gets promoted as long as THEY are able to do a good job!!! YOU need to insure the public safety in a high crime area... Shouldn't that be your priority???

Undre REALLY??

This is what you as a councilman find important for our city? Really? FROM MLK I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." – Martin Luther King, It shouldn't have anything to do with the color of their skin. Do you also advocate for Hispanics or is it just Blacks? I know you work for NAACP but Hispanics have color?? In the summer and I am working outside I have color?? You are a JOKE and issues you feel important make RM the laughing stock of EASTERN NC.


does this mean that the rmpd is not giving adequate promotion/developmental assignments to the rest of the police force? probably. maybe some of the other cops just don't want the 'command' positions and what goes with it. maybe it's about time for some council people to do ride alongs to see what's going on. not an easy job. oh chief, didn't take long for you to see the real rocky mount.


Heaven forbid Mr. Knight, that a person is promoted for his/her qualifications rather than skin color.

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