Editor’s note: This story has been updated here.

On the night of Dec. 28, Greensboro police were summoned to the home of City Manager Taiwo Jaiyeoba’s home on a domestic disturbance call.

From that point, it seems that the Greensboro Police Department and Greensboro City Council tried to steer this thing into the ground.

Police insisted that they followed “normal investigative procedures” following the domestic disturbance, though no arrests were made. Council, after viewing police body-camera footage almost two months later, took no action other than to issue a statement agreeing with the GPD and the Guilford district attorney’s decision not to pursue charges, and to say that the footage would not be made public.

“City Manager Jaiyeoba and his family should be granted the same privacy as any other family deserves in similar circumstances,” the statement reads.

Except Jaiyeoba and his kin are not “any other family.” As the highest-ranking city employee, Jaiyeoba is a public figure paid by taxpayer dollars. And we need more than just the assurances of council that there’s nothing to see here.

Kudos to the News & Record, who successfully obtained a judge’s order to review the same footage council got to see. And shame to the city, which is appealing that judge’s decision to release the video.

Because the appearance of impropriety, especially when it concerns a public figure, is just as bad as actual impropriety. And if no crimes were committed that night in the Jaiyeoba family home, then the public needs to be convinced of that. Soothing words have no use here.

There’s another angle to this sticky situation. Historically, even in Greensboro, Black folks in positions of power are always vulnerable to attacks on their character and suitability for office. Skip Alston of the Guilford County Commission, who has faced accusations of impropriety most of his political career, and Dianne Bellamy-Small, who while on city council survived a recall election spearheaded by people who didn’t live in her district, could tell you more about this trend.

In that vein, all accusations against Jaiyeoba should be viewed with healthy suspicion. And knowing this, we’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But journalism doesn’t work that way, and neither should city government. As we say in the newsroom, even if your mother says she loves you, you still need to check it out.

And if this stain — for it is, indeed, a stain — on Jaiyeoba’s record is to be wiped away, we’re going to need to see the footage.

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