Carruthers said council does not vote in closed session. The minutes and recordings of the closed meeting reveal that council did not simply gauge the consensus of the body, motions were moved and seconded and council voted on measures that were binding on council, prohibiting any council members from looking into records pertaining to an incident of police misconduct.
GREENSBORO, NC — A complaint was filed yesterday with the North Carolina Bar Association against Greensboro city attorney Tom Carruthers according to a news release.
The complaint was filed by retired civil rights attorney Lewis Pitts and the Reverend Nelson Johnson, both of Greensboro. The grievance concerns events during the Greensboro City Council meeting on October 18, 2016 when Carruthers denied that City Council had voted in closed session.
City council had taken two votes in that closed session. When asked about it, Carruthers’ public response at the meeting was:
“I don’t consider what was taken a vote, I consider it a consensus of council. We don’t take votes in closed session.”
Carruthers then stonewalled the release of the closed session minutes until an attorney hired by the News & Record pressured the city to release them.
The minutes and recordings of the meeting reveal that council did not simply gauge the consensus of the body, it took votes on motions that were procedurally moved and seconded and that were binding on council, prohibiting any council members from looking into records pertaining to an incident of police misconduct.
Council members remained silent on Carruthers’ conduct.
From the complaint:
“The unethical conduct committed by Attorney Carruthers mislead and decieved the public, the members of the Greensboro community, those concerned about racial justice and fairness in the criminal justice system, and the complainants. Attorney Carruthers violated the most cherished values in our self-governing democracy: truth and transparency about the role, conduct, and activities of government officials. He did this in his official capacity as city attorney.”
This video shows how pressure was brought to bear at the council meeting that forced the revelation that a vote had been taken in the closed meeting.
This video juxtaposes audio from the closed session with Carruthers’ public statements: