‘Thank God Almighty:’ Community reacts to sheriff’s resignation

‘Thank God Almighty:’ Community reacts to sheriff’s resignation
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 9:04 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Several community members celebrated after a hearing to decide whether to remove Sheriff Jody Greene from office ended before the first witness took the stand when Greene unexpectedly resigned.

“Columbus County needs change,” said one person as crowds spilled out of the courthouse. “This racial divide we got going on is unnecessary.”

Before the state could even begin to make its case for removing now-former Sheriff Jody Greene, Greene’s attorney announced his client’s resignation, effective immediately.

Several in the crowd cheered and even danced as they heard the news. Though some of Greene’s supporters were present, they declined to comment on the announcement or hearing.

“I’m glad the sheriff resigned, but I remind the citizens of Columbus County that his name is still on the ballot,” said NC NAACP president Deborah Dicks Maxwell.

The resignation comes just weeks after WECT reported on recordings of Greene making racist comments about black employees, shocking the community.

“It’s just unfathomable to think that somebody would feel like that about us,” said Columbus County resident Renee Guinyard.

Though Greene’s resignation stopped Monday’s hearing in its tracks, the criminal investigation into Greene’s alleged misconduct continues.

While some voters see this as a win, they also say the fight for justice isn’t over. Greene will still appear on the ballot on Election Day.

“We always encourage individuals to vote -- not just this case, every cycle,” said Maxwell. “Every election, everyone’s votes count.”

Greene does have the option to withdraw his candidacy before the election, though he wrote in a Facebook post on Monday evening that he has no plans to do so.

Still, the Columbus County Republican Party could ask him to step aside and appoint a replacement candidate. WECT reached out to the Columbus County Republican Party to find out if they plan to ask Greene to withdraw.

Chairman Sammy Hinson responded, saying, “We have no plans to ask him to withdraw his candidacy. Our plans are for him to win and win big. The voters will decide based upon his performance as sheriff, not special interest groups from outside our county with an agenda.”

Should Greene win the upcoming election for sheriff, District Attorney Jon David says his office is prepared to file another petition to have him removed. If that happens, Maxwell says she’s prepared to fight for justice at that hearing.

“Anywhere in this state that that happens, we will be there,” said Maxwell.