09/16/2002

Ga. Man is 'Top Cop'

Solving '71 Murder Earns 'Oscar'

Steve Visser, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A national police organization often recognizes "Top Cops" for heroic acts --- courage under fire, saving lives or stopping robberies --- but it has distinguished two metro Atlanta detectives for pure tenacity.

Atlanta police Detective Jim Rose and M.C. Cox, an investigator for the Fulton County district attorney, picked up the law enforcement version of the Oscar for resurrecting and solving a 31-year-old case involving the slaying of a police officer.

On Sept. 11, the National Association of Police Organizations presented them with one of 10 "Top Cop" awards in New York City.

The pair secured an indictment in the death of Atlanta police Officer James Richard Greene, who was killed Nov. 3, 1971. Greene was slain while he ate his supper in a patrol wagon on Memorial Drive.

The Washington-based police association held the ceremony in Manhattan in honor of the police officers who lost their lives last year during the attack on the World Trade Center.

"It was a pretty humbling experience to accept an award on the anniversary of the catastrophe that we had," said Rose, of Lilburn. "It was also pretty humbling to stand before the other nine groups of people. Some of those officers were involved in shootings where their partners were killed."

It was the 49-year-old Rose's second trip to the award ceremony. The detective, with a knack for solving cold cases, received an honorable mention in 2000 for helping solve the 1975 slaying of another Atlanta police officer, Sam Guy, who was killed when trying to stop a motel robbery. In July, a Fulton County jury convicted Terry Robert Jackson of the murder in that case. Another man, Abner Wilkinson, received a 12-year sentence in exchange for his testimony.

The same month, a Fulton County grand jury indicted the former Freddie Hilton, a 49-year-old New Yorker who changed his name to Kamau Sadiki, for murder in the Greene case.

Sadiki and Twyman Meyers --- who later died in a shootout with police --- killed Greene when they were members of the now-defunct Black Liberation Army, which was suspected of assassinating police officers around the nation, said Rose, the main investigator on the case.

He and Cox, 51, crisscrossed the country hunting down witnesses, who they said had either seen the shooting or heard the gunmen brag about it.

Cox, a Riverdale resident who joined the Atlanta police a week after the Greene killing, said solving the last unsolved police killing was satisfying, but it should have been done in the 1970s.

"We don't know why it wasn't dealt with back then, but it should have been," Cox said. "I think the evidence was there."
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