North Carolina NAACP Formally Requests the U.S. Department of Justice Intervene in Columbus County after Racist Rant from Sheriff
Attorneys for the organization officially requested the U.S. Department of Justice take immediate action in Columbus County, including launching an expedited investigation and deploying DOJ election monitors
RALEIGH, N.C. – On Saturday, October 15th, attorneys for the NC NAACP submitted an official letter to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting three immediate remedies to further justice, accountability, and transparency in Columbus County after Sheriff Jody Greene was caught going on a racist rant about Black officers in the department last month.
Sheriff Greene has been temporarily suspended, but still remains on the ballot for the upcoming sheriff election, a contest that he won by just 34 votes. The NC NAACP has extreme concern about the potential for an increase in voter intimidation problems in Columbus County. Sheriff Greene has documented relationships to the anti-government, white militia group, the Oath Keepers- whose members were reported to be at polling sites during the 2020 elections, engaging in poll monitoring in an intimidating manner. These instances individually are more than sufficient cause for alarm and concern, but when coupled together, they are especially dangerous and pose a threat to Black voters during the coming election.
Columbus County President Curtis Hill says, “Sheriff Greene’s statements exposed what the Columbus County community has lived with for decades: a longstanding history of racial discrimination by law enforcement and government officials that must be addressed by official independent intervention and oversight.”
As a result, NAACP officials have requested the US DOJ urgently take the following actions:
- Expedite and ensure the full independence of a Federal civil rights investigation into the statements made and discriminatory actions taken by Sheriff Jody Greene
- Deploy DOJ election monitors to Columbus County during the upcoming November 2022 General Election, including during the 17 days of early voting proceeding election day
- Hold a listening session with community members in Columbus County to determine other civil rights violations and community needs that the Department of Justice has the authority to provide a path to redress.
NC NAACP Legal Redress Chair, Irv Joyner says, "Our community cannot rest without impartial justice, accountability, and transformative change. We stand ready to provide further information in support of this request and to facilitate the Department of Justice’s independent investigation in the ways most beneficial to their office."
Read the full letter from NC NAACP here
On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, WECT News released audio recordings of Columbus County’s Sheriff Jody Greene using racist language while speaking to Mr. Jason Soles. In the audio, recorded by Soles in February 2019, Greene can be heard disparaging Black employees, making explicit and racist comments such as “F**k them Black bastards”. After the release of these recordings, Jody Greene did not deny being the voice in the recording on the official “Columbus County Sheriff’s Office” Facebook page. Subsequent to the audio recording, at least one Black employee of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office was terminated.
Mr. Jody Greene has since been temporarily suspended from the Sheriff’s Department, via judicial granting of a petition for removal by District Attorney Jon David. NC NAACP, their attorneys, and advocates argue that more must be done to repair and prevent more harm, restore faith in the Columbus County Sheriff’s office, and protect the people of Columbus county, especially members of the Black community.