Greene sworn in as Columbus Co. sheriff; DA files petition for removal and permanent disqualification

On the same day that Jody Greene was sworn in as Columbus County Sheriff, the District Attorney filed a petition for his removal and permanent disqualification.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 9:13 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2022 at 6:15 PM EST
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COLUMBUS CO., N.C. (WECT) - On the same day that Jody Greene was sworn in as Columbus County Sheriff, District Attorney Jon David filed a petition for his removal and permanent disqualification Thursday.

This is the second time that David has filed a petition of removal against Greene.

Earlier this year, WECT released recordings of Greene making racist statements against deputies in the sheriff’s office following his election four years ago.

Those recordings led District Attorney Jon David to file a petition to have a judge remove Greene from office, revealing a number of allegations against Greene including misconduct while in office, a sexual affair with a deputy, and more.

Those allegations also prompted an ongoing investigation of Greene by the State Bureau of Investigation, and WECT has been made aware of federal subpoenas issued regarding Greene’s alleged actions.

Greene resigned as sheriff during a hearing on the petition on Oct. 24.

The second petition to remove includes an affidavit from Whiteville Police Department Lt. Andre Jackson, who said he was contact by the sheriff’s office on numerous occasions to investigate an incident involving a black woman who was then employed at the sheriff’s office.

Clementine Brown was the captain over the Columbus County Detention Center and was on medical leave when Jody Greene was sworn in as sheriff in December of 2018.

Brown alleges that when she returned to work, Greene told her she would no longer be the captain over the detention center. She said at the time she was the only black female on the command staff.

Brown says she also was told that her salary would decrease by $10,000 annually. Brown says she was employed with the sheriff’s office until around July of 2020.

She says during that time, while shopping at Walmart, she realized she failed to scan five bags of pecans. She says she immediately returned to the store and paid for the items.

“A few days later, I was suspended for three days pending a criminal investigation,” Brown stated in the affidavit. “The day I went back to work, I was called into (Jeremy) Battle’s office, and terminated.”

After receiving numerous calls from the sheriff’s office about the incident at Walmart, Lt. Jackson said he decided to investigate the situation himself. He said he spoke to Brown and viewed video from the store.

“After speaking to all parties involved and watching the video, I determined that there was certainly not enough evidence to determine that Brown has any intent to commit any larceny or shoplifting office,” he stated. “The incident was so minor that I did not prepare a report on it.

“I was aware that there was a lot going on at the sheriff’s office during this time, and that Brown had been demoted from a position that she held for many years. It appeared to me that the sheriff’s office was attempting to get Whiteville Police Department to charge Brown as a basis for her termination.”

After his reelection in November, Greene’s eligibility to serve as sheriff had been challenged by two voters in Columbus County. However, the Columbus County Board of Elections, the State Board of Elections and a judge in Wake County dismissed the challenges.

Greene took the oath of office for his second term Thursday, making a promise to the people he serves.

“I’m going to be the sheriff for everyone,” said Greene. “I promise to give you a professional and well-trained sheriff’s office, one that can face any challenges that arise, a sheriff’s office that you can be proud of.”

Greene declined to answer WECT’s questions Thursday, but says his road back to the Sheriff’s office has been difficult.

“This is another tough fight. A fight I certainly could not have endured without the grace of God, family, supporters and friends. Thank you for the bottom of my heart,” he said.

County Commissioner Lavern Coleman says Greene is still the right man for the job, sharing his reaction to the taped recording of Greene’s racist comments.

“How many people haven’t said something like that, in a fit of anger or whatever? He went through a hard time,” Coleman said.

Coleman wants the county to move on.

“He’s put the citizens of this county first,” he said. “And people just want to tear him down and it’s time that people get behind him and support him and do what they’re supposed to do. Let him be the sheriff.”

Court documents dated Dec. 29 show that Kevin Norris is now serving as Chief Deputy at the sheriff’s office.

A hearing for this petition is scheduled for Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom C of the Columbus County Courthouse.

Greene’s tenure in office after his election in 2018 started off in a similar manner with challenges to his eligibility due to residency issues.

WARNING: The petition for removal below includes graphic language.