Wednesday, November 16, 2022

American History X


Columbus County, NC, is a long way from Watauga County, down almost to the coast with no major highways that you might have traveled on your way to getting a tan at the beach. It's almost exclusively rural. Whiteville is the county seat, a name that has some resonance for this story. According to the 2020 Census, the county's population is a little over 30% Black, with an additional 2,000 Waccamaw Siouan American Indians. 

As recently as the 2018 general elections, the county had a Black sheriff, Lewis Hatcher, who was defeated in that election (by 34 votes) by one Jody Greene, who was suspended from office in October pending an investigation of recordings of his going off on racist rants. The county's DA had filed the court petition to remove him. (Actually, Greene voluntarily stepped down to head off a public hearing on his misdeeds.) His unbecoming behavior toward Black subordinates went public in September (covered here on WataugaWatch, you bet!).

Once (and future?) Sheriff Jody Greene

Nevertheless -- and this is where rural North Carolina can be as irrationally unpredictable as a Franz Kafka short story -- Jody Greene's name remained on November's ballot, and he actually won the election with 54.26% of the vote, beating the sheriff's deputy, Jason Soles, who blew the whistle on him for his balls-to-the-walls racism.

The DA -- maybe with remarkable presentiment -- issued this warning on the same day Jody Greene stepped down: “These allegations speak through time and are disqualifying to anyone seeking to hold the high office of sheriff. Should Greene be successful in the November election, my office would have an ethical obligation to file, and will file, a new Petition to Remove Greene from that term of office based on the allegations alleged in the current Petition to Remove.” Whoa! 

In the updated petition for removal, the DA lists new allegations against Greene, claiming Greene had arrested residents without basis, threatened county commissioners, and had a sexual relationship with a female employee while on duty.

Trump America likes its autocrats, especially the armed bullies.


Anonymous said...

I read your previous article, as well as this one, and am confused.

Sheriffs are elected officials. I'm looking around the web I can't find much about what the qualifications for sheriff are, other than a US and state citizen with no felony convictions, and over 20 years of age.

I don't see anything about bad language or saying n****** as being a reason for ineligibility for election, or removal from office.

So, how does a District Attorney have the power to remove an elected official? Seems he doesn't, maybe the Legislature can impeach him.

And, if he can be removed for saying the n word, what about all of the black sheriffs? From my experience in working in factories and the military around blacks they call each other n****** whenever they get mad at each other. If you think they don't you are both naive and a fool.

Will they be removed also? What about the other elected officials in NC? Do they get 'equitable' treatment as well?

So the man's a bully, so are lefties. If he was reelected with the history he has, then he's what the voters wanted.

As for sex with an employee while on the job, doesn't anyone remember Bill Clinton? He got reelected also.

Anonymous said...

It's like I read a different set of facts. It wasn't merely for the use of the n-word -- though I don't know a law enforcement agency that would allow a police officer, let alone a county sheriff, to express such bald-faced prejudice -- it was the action that went with the word, the demoting and punishment of black subordinates and the accusation that his arrest/detention record was biased against Black people. As far as the adultery, I believe the issue is always manager/subordinate connections, which can imply job pressure as a wedge. The power differential is the big problem.

Wolf's Head said...

Like Anon 12:51, I don't see how a District Attorney can remove an elected sheriff with a court petition.

Seems to me the only way he can be removed is impeachment by the legislature, or maybe a recall petition.

If he was having sexual relations with a subordinate, that would be grounds for a court case either criminal or civil, but unless he is convicted of a felony, I still don't see how he can be removed.

Would be interesting if this goes to court to settle how it could be done as I thought the Sheriff was the highest elected official in a county.

Perhaps some lawyer could chime in?

Red Hornet said...

anonymous wouldn't be confused if serving time in the county jail.
anonymous would find out immediately how it works.