Greensboro Police Department records show that former Officer Travis B. Cole — who quit last month during investigations into his handling of an incident with Dejuan Yourse — was actually promoted while an internal investigation was ongoing.
According to employment history provided by the department, Cole was promoted to the rank of Police Officer III on Aug. 1, well after the June 17 incident with Yourse. It is not immediately clear why Cole was promoted or how this could have occurred during the investigation.
“A person is presumed innocent unless/until an investigation reveals otherwise,” police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said Tuesday, responding to an inquiry via email. “In this instance, the promotion occurred before the investigation was complete.”
The police department later opened a second investigation into Cole pertaining to the incident and placed him on paid administrative leave on Aug. 10, but Cole resigned on Aug. 19 before the dual investigations could be completed, records show. The department later found that Cole violated its directives on use of force, courtesy towards the public, compliance to laws and regulations and arrest, search and seizure. Officer CN Jackson is currently under investigation for the incident with Yourse as well, Chief Wayne Scott said in a press conference yesterday.
Greensboro City Council released the footage of the incident yesterday, in which Yourse can be heard saying that Cole punched him in the eye and lip. Cole threatened to hit him again during the arrest — all charges were later dropped against Yourse, who was sitting on his mother’s front porch.
Update (Sept. 28, 10 a.m.): In a press release this morning the city of Greensboro said, “Effective immediately, City Manager Jim Westmoreland is placing a 30 day hold on the promotion of any officers directly involved in the incident and events involving former police officer Travis Cole or in the investigative process.”
The announcement did not acknowledge the promotion of Cole in the middle of the internal investigation last month, which Triad City Beat uncovered and reported the day before.
Additionally, here are two more details from our longer article on the matter:
“Cole and all of his other academy graduates were promoted on the same day,” police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said via email. Cole’s salary went up from $46,592 to $48,067 with the promotion, she said.