SBI INVESTIGATING ACTIONS
OF COLUMBUS COUNTY SHERIFF
WHO ALLEGEDLY VOWED TO GET
RID OF BLACK EMPLOYEES
By Cash Michaels
The State Bureau of Investigation is opening an investigation into the actions of Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene after a local television station aired an audiotape allegedly of him from a February 2019 late night telephone conversation where he is heard saying, “I’m sick of it. I’m sick of these Black bastards. I’m going to clean house and be done with it. And we’ll start from there.”
According to reporting from WECT-TV, since he won a controversial and racially heated election in 2018 against the then Black incumbent Sheriff Lewis Hatcher by just 34 votes, Sheriff Greene, a Republican, angrily vowed to either fire or punish anyone he felt was loyal to Hatcher in the department.
Greene allegedly called the home of then-Columbus County Sheriff’s Dept. Captain Jason Soles, who is white. Greene had already won the election, but Hatcher contested the results. Soles was serving as acting sheriff until the controversy about whether Greene actually lived in Columbus County was resolved.
Soles told WECT that one night in early February 2019, an angry Greene wanted to know who in the department had communicated with Hatcher, and Melvin Campbell, a Black sergeant who would later be fired by Greene. Greene was concerned about a ‘snitch” in his department, and resolved to get rid of them because he felt someone tried to sabotage his election.
“This one particular phone call that [I] received, [Greene] made the comment that he hated Democrats. And then he said, ‘I take that back. I hate a Black f***ing Democrat.’ And, and I knew right then, I was like, ‘Wow, this is coming from the sheriff.’ And, I had to start recording those conversations.” So Soles began recording all of Sheriff Greene’s telephone calls to him.
“They’re gone. This is as fair as I’m going to be. Just giving you a heads up, that’s coming…” Greene continued. They ain’t going to make it brother. I’m telling you, they might as well find somewhere else to go. Because if you ain’t with me - I ain’t referring to you - but if they’re not with me, they’re against me. And they’re gone. And that’s just how it’s going to be.”
Greene is heard referencing several Black employees felt were against him, promising to retaliate against them.
“If I have to fire every mother f***er out there, guess what?,” Sheriff Greene is heard continuing to rant on one of Sole’s recordings. I’m tired of them f***ing with me. It ain’t happening no more. No godd**n more. So you let them know, if I find their numbers in the next day or two, they ain’t going to like it. They damn sure ain’t going to like it. “
Greene continued, “Tomorrow’s gonna be a new f**king day. I’m still the motherf**king sheriff, and I’ll go up and fire every godd**n [inaudible]. F**k them Black bastards. They think I’m scared? They’re stupid,” Greene said. “I don’t know what else to do it. So it’s just time to clean them out. There’s a snitch in there somewhere tellin’ what we are doing. And I’m not gonna have it. I’m not going to have it.”
Sheriff Greene vowed to fire anyone “guilty by f**king association” with Campbell and Hatcher.
“We’ll cut the snake’s head f**king off. Period. And Melvin Campbell is as big a snake as Lewis Hatcher ever dared to be. Every Black that I know, you need to fire him to start with, he’s a snake.”
According to WECT, a number of Black deputies have either been demoted or fired since Sheriff Greene assumed office.
Soles says he took his tape to the Columbus County commissioners to no avail. Even had an SBI agent tell him no investigation can begin unless a district attorney or the state attorney general’s office requested one.
That’s when Soles, no longer with the Columbus County Sheriff’s Dept. and now running to replace Sheriff Greene, went to WECT. The station aired the recordings, and the got the attention of District Attorney Jon David, who opened an Obstruction of Justice probe, formally requesting that the SBI follow through.
Governor Cooper’s office has now also demanded an investigation as well.
For his part, Sheriff Greene denies making the racial statements he’s recorded allegedly making, but resigned from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association before they voted to kick him out last week.
The story has gone national, shining yet another unwelcoming light on small town shenanigans in North Carolina since the recent Kenly town manager controversy.
And there’s no word as of press time about any of the Black former employees of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Department filing suit against Sheriff Greene.
On Monday, District Attorney Jon David sent a letter to Sheriff Greene, requesting that he resign from office.
JUSTICE COALITION REFUSES
TO COMPLY WITH NAACP
“CEASE & DESIST” THREATS
By Cash Michaels
The “servant leader” of the Justice Coalition USA,” a growing group of concerned NAACP members, has staunchly refused to comply with with a stern “cease and desist” letter from the national president/CEO of the NAACP, warning hi to stop all pronouncements and activities “…detrimental to the Association.”
Rev. Dr. Cardes H. Brown, Jr.,NAACP Life member, veteran civil rights activist, and servant leader of Justice Coalition USA, says Derrick Johnson, the national president/CEO of the NAACP, has refused to meet with the group regarding what they charge is the disenfranchisement of elderly NAACP members by instituting an Election Buddy” system for the upcoming NAACP branch elections across North Carolina.
Dr. Brown sent a Sept. 12th letter on Justice Coalition USA letterhead to Johnson at the NAACP Baltimore headquarters inviting him to meet via Zoom, and giving. him three dates from which to choose.
“It is our sincere hope that you will make effort to meet with us to provide clarity and answer the questions necessary for us to participate in one of the most basic human rights in democracy-voting,” stated Dr. Brown’s letter. “We are reaching out to you to try and avoid seeking other remedies to meet our request.”
If the tone of Rev. Brown’s letter was somewhat conciliatory, Derrick Johnson’s Sept. 23rd “cease and desist” response was anything but.
“You have engaged in repeated inimical conduct that is not in accord with the principles of the Association,” the second paragraph of Johnson’s response letter lashed. 'More specifically, you have utilized your leadership position in the Justice Coalition to undermine and discredit the National NAACP and the North Carolina State Conference NAACP. In that capacity, you have engaged in conduct that is detrimental to the Association.”
Johnson’s “cease and desist” letter repeatedly accuses Rev. Brown and Justice USA of making “false statements,” warning that “Article X, Section 2 of the Bylaws for Units of the NAACP states that “[t]he Board of Directors, upon satisfactory evidence that an officer or member of the Association...is guilty of conduct not in accord with the principles, aims and purposes of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People...or guilty of conduct inimical to the best interests of...the Association may order suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action against such officer or member, after a full hearing if requested by the respondent in accord with the provisions of this Constitution.”
Johnson then charges that Rev. Brown and Justice Coalition USA “…are dedicated to disparaging the National NAACP and the North Carolina State Conference.” He continues that Justice USA, through it’s website is falsely promoting itself as “…a coalition of NAACP members seeking redress of issues of the NAACP National Organization illegally taking over Branches and State Organizations and to address the apparent corruption existing under the current national leadership.”
Johnson went on charge that Justice USA “…falsely accused the National NAACP of “voter suppression” and “ineptitude in carrying out the [October 23rd, 2021 executive committee] election,” in addition nationally appointed administrator Gloria Sweet-Love “of engaging in “unconstitutional “ conduct” in overseeing that controversial election that saw the removal of then-NC NAACP Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.
After listing other charges, Johnson’s letter states, “The National NAACP hereby demands that you immediately cease-and-desist making disparaging and defamatory statements against the National NAACP, the NAACP national leadership, the National NAACP staff, the North Carolina State Conference NAACP, and/or the North Carolina State Conference NAACP leadership,” adding that it demanded the removal all writings and materials detrimental to the national NAACP or Derrick Johnson personally from the Justice USA website, and confirm doing so the NAACP general counsel by Friday, Sept. 23rd.
“Failure to comply with this cease-and-desist letter may result in suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action,” Derrick Johnson’s terse letter concludes.
On Sept. 23rd, Dr. Brown replied by certified letter, “First, you do not have the authority to regulate or dictate the activities of the Justice Coalition USA.”
“Secondly, you cannot restrict my criticism of the NAACP as my freedom of speech is a constitutional right protected by the First Amendment of the United States.”
After reminding Johnson that his original Sept. 12th letter was an invitation to discuss “…my objections to the upcoming branch elections by electronic means and to discuss the financial information of the NAACP Empowerment Programs, Inc., a 501(c)(3), registered in New York, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc., a 501(c)(4), registered in Delaware,” Rev. Brown further notes that Derrick Johnson’s response, “…requesting that I “cease and desist” is retaliatory to my request and is “inimical” to the best interests of the NAACP.”
Brown ended his response with, “I will not cease and desist from objecting to an electronic election process that will disenfranchise elderly members who are not electronically savvy and members who cannot afford the internet and do not have access to the internet. This practice is not in accord with the purpose of the NAACP.”
At press time, there was no response from national NAACP Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson to Justice Coalition USA Servant Leader Rev. Dr. Cardes Brown’s reply.
THREE HBCU’s STRIVING
TO IMPROVE AMID
By Cash Michaels
One North Carolina historically Black college/university (HBCU) reaches an eight-year peak in student enrollment. A second HBCU receives an $80,000 grant in the aftermath of a bomb threat to increase security and trauma recovery.
And a third HBCU is looking steadily towards redeveloping the future and making plans to one day be bigger and better.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, at least three North Carolina HBCUs are seeing dramatic changes that may have lasting impact.
Elizabeth City State University [ECSU] enrolled 2,149 students this academic year, the most in eight years, the school has announced. Credit ECSU’s success to the NC Promise program, which helps to attract students to two selected UNC System HBCUs - ECSU and Fayetteville State University - in addition to Western Carolina University, and UNC at Pembroke, with $500.000 per semester tuition costs.
The program has allowed a small school like ECSU to climb back from an enrollment deficit to its current success.
ECSU’s steady expansion in key demographic populations proves that the power of the NC Promise tuition program is helping us reach more scholars who desire to earn a highly competitive degree t an affordable cost,” ECSU Chancellor Karri Dixon said in a statement.
Last April, ECSU announced that it would provide a one-time housing grant for students living on campus the semester. And that it had received over $100,000 in grants for two library projects, updating the digital inventory and self-checkout systems at the G.R Little Library, while creating a satellite for the NC Digital Heritage Center.
Meanwhile, over at Shaw University in Raleigh, that private HBCU is planning for redevelopment of its downtown campus property, possibly making way for city rezoning that could allow 40-story tall high rises to be built.
Shaw officials spent part of last month soliciting ideas and gathering responses from the public as to what they consider to be the best uses for some of its city acreage, as well as new facilities for students. It would be called “Shaw U District.”
As one of the largest landowners in downtown Raleigh, the university believes it could generate significant revenue from leasing such of its property for new development.
Finally, safety is the Number One concern at Fayetteville State University (FSU) as the HBCU is receiving an $80,000 Project SERV grant help provide counseling to students after a bomb threat was made on the campus last February.
At that time, campus-wide activities, included classes, were suspended, and students were directed to shelter-in-place for safety.
Fortunately, no explosive device as found.
At least fifty HBCUs across the country received bomb threats earlier this year, including NCCU in Durham, WSSU in Winston-Salem, and ECSU in Elizabeth City.
The Project SERV grant is awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Education to help fund trauma recovery and mental health services, as well as full-time security officers.