Factual Disagreements

Ernest Jones

CRS Mediator, Atlanta Office

[Full Interview]

Question: So there weren't any factual discrepancies?

Answer: No there were a lot of discrepancies because people would express their position on an issue and over a period of time they came to distort the issue.

Question: For example?

Answer: They'd make statements like "a black has never held a position above Sergeant." Well that's not true and the city could show that in fact they'd had an assistant chief who was black. They'd had a black captain. They'd had a black major. They had a bunch of black lieutenants. Over the history of the department they'd had these, but what had happened is that the black officers just kept saying nobody has been above a Sergeant. And all of a sudden that becomes the truth for them and it wasn't the truth. Factually that wasn't the truth, but for the black officers that was real-- it had just materialized to that point. I could just cite that for a whole bunch of different issues from the city's perspective, from the FOP's perspective, and from the black's perspective. This is just human nature. We allow things to become something that they're not because of the emphasis that we place on it.

Question: Now once the facts were actually given and provided did the other side accept those as facts?

Answer: Well let's just take the one we were just talking about. As I recall the response was something to the effect of, "well, yeah we forgot about that, but that was 30 years ago. We're, talking about today." And that happened with those kinds of issues. People reluctantly understand that the historical data is there, because it's on paper and people can prove it. But because they've made that an issue and they've stated their position, somehow there's got to be some face saving taking place here and so we change the focus to today. That's what we're talking about. And that way everybody has saved face all the way around the table. And that happens a lot and it happened a lot in this case.

Question: So they didn't lose any of their validity?

Answer: Their perspective, was "well we showed you." It's incredible to me how childish adults can be. I don't know why because I see it repeatedly day after day but it has a whole "one-upsmanship." Well we showed you that you were wrong. Yeah you did but you had to go back thirty years to do it. It has that whole attitude. So everybody feels that they've made their point and now we just have to figure out how to get it down on paper. That's the trick.