An Open Letter to the City Council of Raleigh NC

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Jun 062020


At the press conference Friday morning, our mayor passionately stated:

The Raleigh City Council supports our police chief … We have her back now, and we support her.

Raleigh Mayor holds press conference after a week of protests in the city

The council member code of conduct states:

Members should never attempt to express an opinion on an issue as the position of the city unless the full council has endorsed that position.


However, there is no public record of a meeting, motion, vote, or resolution wherein the council declared their support for the police chief. Based upon this it appears that our Mayor violated the council code of conduct, and if the the rules of the council are to mean anything can and should be sanctioned for it. It is hypocritical for the mayor to consistently note when members of the public violate decorum, and to gavel at other members of the council when she deems them in violation, only to go on and do so herself with such a bold affirmation very publicly during a politically tense moment with public confidence in RPD low (an understatement, I suspect). If this is just a misunderstanding, a vote on a resolution of support for our police chief should be held so that each council member enters their view into the public record.

Even after the events of this weekend, the RPD continues to astound with its brazen attacks on their fellow citizens. Friday we learned that the RPD instructed the Wake County Sheriff to serve a warrant unrelated to the RPD’s jurisdiction (certainly not worthy of rousing officers in the middle of the night over) against Conrad James (whose event drew an astounding crowd of three), in the dead of night because he “had caused a nuisance”: merely knocking on the front door of a police station asking that officers pass a list of his demands for reform onward to their chief officer, afterward even having a polite chat with the police chief that happened to make for a diffusing news piece that was nothing but glowing for the police chief and the RPD (the citizen heard! the chief opening her heart and pledging to seek a more perfect justice!).

And then the RPD went on to openly surveil him (speaking his name as a target over public radio bands) during the peaceful marches Friday night, and furthermore openly followed him back to his home as he left well before curfew.

These are clear acts of retribution on the part of RPD that they have openly admitted to intended to have a chilling effect on speech, and for what? Mere participation in a moment of protest? Mild criticism of the police department? Should I be afraid of a knock on my door at three in the morning for sending these letters? Is the RPD running background checks on everyone who called into the meeting Thursday evening in case they have some outstanding warrant or unpaid citation they could be harassed over? Which of us will they next descend upon in the dead of night in their attempt to intimidate the city into silence? There is no going back from this precipice: the mayor and police chief must go, no more of this “if immediate demands are not met” nonsense.

Furthermore, while the curfew may have been legal and justified the first night, at this point it is very clearly unconstitutional on a number of grounds, and grows more problematic with each passing day. The NC ACLU has noted its concern with very similar curfews imposed in Greensboro and High Point, and by the criteria listed in their June 1st article it is clear Raleigh’s curfew fails to pass muster.

This is the latest declaration from our mayor that impinges upon our basic right to free expression, showing a pattern of either fundamental misunderstanding of or outright contempt for the basic law of our land. That upon reflection her only regret is not putting a curfew into place with even less justification makes it feel like contempt is the likelier of the two.

Does the city council really stand for this: For tear gassing peaceful protesters (including at least one member of the city council)? For banally violating the basic civil liberties of Raleigh’s citizens? For allowing the police to terrorize and take vengeance upon anyone who dares question them?

I thought I was cynical, but every day this year is a surprise,

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

An(other) Open Letter to Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin of Raleigh NC

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Jun 022020

To the mayor,

I see you are still in office. Do you not understand how responsibility works? Especially after Sunday where RPD launched chemical weapons into a peaceful crowd with no provocation (spreading an outright lie to justify it), proceeded to antagonize the crowd for hours by repeatedly tear gassing them, escalating the situation until the crowd erupted in anger. Officers launching flash bang grenades at the owner of Ruby Deluxe was a nice touch too.

There were hours where the crowd was cohesive enough that the police could have declared an unlawful gathering and ended it Sunday before rioting started (or, you know, the RPD could simply have not antagonized the crowd in the first place): the blame falls squarely on your shoulders as the Mayor for this absolutely bungled response and I think proves the point of the protesters. Your police force picked a fight with the citizens they are sworn to protect, and outright terrorized the city Sunday.

Compare to last night when RPD showed restraint and at least kept their jackbooted thug contingent out of sight, giving the protesters room and allowing them time to peacefully disperse. I do hope the council reconsiders the curfew soon however: it will certainly be unequally enforced if it goes on long enough, and there will almost surely be an incident that inflames tensions again.

In addition to to your resignation and the termination of the chief of police, the city council must move forward and kill the half-assed police “oversight” board (where the oversight is the oversight) and replace it with one that has subpoena power, as our marginalized communities have been demanding for years now. It might be time to reconsider your position that “Sometimes, when you make nobody happy, maybe that is the best solution” and consider that listening to the citizens you represent and protecting them from brutalization at the hands of law enforcement is the best solution, and is your duty. Law enforcement is a job: if they don’t like having to respect citizens, good riddance. Citizens can’t choose the color of their skin!

Reinstating CACs until an alternative is researched would be a good show of faith too, although since the rest of the council except for Mr. Cox are also opposed to them I admit that’s a stretch. Just know you’re all unlikely to be re-elected unless you actually do something about this and really begin to LISTEN to marginalized communities instead of paying them lip service and waiting for them to be gentrified out of existence.

If you don’t understand why you as the mayor must resign over this, I leave you with a tale of inverted responsibility courtesy of Kierkegaard:

Although everyone wants to rule, no one wants to have responsibility. It is still fresh in our memory that a French statesman, when offered a portfolio the second time, declared that he would accept it but on the condition that the secretary of state be made responsible. It is well known that the king in France is not responsible, but the prime minister is; the prime minister does not wish to be responsible but wants to be prime minister provided that the secretary of state will be responsible; ultimately it ends, of course, with the watchmen or street commissioners becoming responsible. Would not this inverted story of responsibility be an appropriate subject for Aristophanes!

I know you were looking for a cushy prestige gig to capstone your career where you didn’t actually have to lead as it’s clear you have no leadership ability in you, but that’s not how this year turned out. Resign and allow someone competent to take your place before Raleigh goes down in service of your vanity.

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

An Open Letter to Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin of Raleigh NC

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May 312020

To the mayor,

Resign, now. You have no legitimacy after allowing the police to brutalize a peaceful protest last night and trigger rioting.

The chief of police and wake county sheriff need to go too. What did you think would happen when the police showed up fully jackbooted in riot gear off the bat? Do you not understand the message that sends? That they followed up by lobbing chemical weapons at peaceful protesters made it deafeningly loud: we are an occupying force, and you are the occupied. You are in charge of that force, and are ultimately responsible for last night.

You went on to blame outside agitators: I hate to break it to you, but the agitators took their uniforms off and quietly went back to their homes in our communities last night.

You’ve made it clear through your many tone deaf comments (remember when you endorsed Bloomberg, making it clear that you’re fine with monstrous policing that brutalizes marginalized communities as long as the tax base increases?) that you are only the mayor of upper class white Raleigh. Disbanding the CACs because the underclass used them to complain about being tread upon, creating a joke of a police advisory board with no teeth as a giant “fuck you” to the communities suffering from state violence, even continuing to push forward on the stadium project (made possible only by Trump’s “opportunity zones” which were created specifically to destroy minority communities!) even as the COVID-19 crisis began. But you created a few special parking zones! Mission accomplished! You’re a joke.

You’ve made it clear you view the majority of Raleigh as an annoyance, and wish to silence their pleas for a better life as they are ground underheel (until they are silenced forever: dispossessed by gentrification courtesy of your friends in the construction industry).

  • Clinton Ebadi, Resident of District D

And did those feet in ancient times
Walk bare upon these lonely streets like mine?
Does God watch us from that penthouse high above
His children down below who live on air and love?