A sheriff in a rural North Carolina county resigned Monday after he was recorded saying blatantly racist comments about the Black deputies working under him.
Jody Greene, the now former sheriff of Columbus County, was caught spewing derogatory remarks on a phone call in 2019 — not long after he took office. Audio from the phone call was recorded and made public recently.
The Columbus County District Attorney’s office filed a petition on Friday presenting evidence of recorded conversations in court records, demanding for Greene’s removal from office following his recorded remarks. The petition detailed specific Black deputies and sergeants in the office that Greene targeted derogatory statements towards during the recorded conversation.
He referred to several Black deputies and sergeants as “Black bastards” and threatened to fire them as a result.
At least one Black person was fired following the conversation, the office said in the petition.
“Tomorrow’s gonna be a new fucking day. I’m still the motherfucking sheriff...Fuck them Black bastards, they think I’m scared? They’re stupid. I don’t know what else to do with it. So it’s time to clean them out,” Greene was recorded saying, according to the filing.
“I ain’t gonna have it. I’m gonna cut the snake’s fucking head 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!” Greene continued on the recording.
Outrage was swift in the community. The NAACP, locally and nationally, blasted Greene, calling his remarks “divisive” and “horrifying.”
Columbus County District Attorney Jon David filed a petition Oct. 4 demanding Greene’s removal from office. A judge agreed the same day, effective immediately.
On Oct. 5, the Columbus County Board of Commissioners held an impromptu meeting to fill Greene’s temporary vacancy until a final decision is made on whether he will continue to be sheriff of the department.
The State Bureau of Investigations in North Carolina launched an investigation of obstruction of justice in the department after Greene’s recorded comments.
Following the reporting of his remarks, Greene resigned from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association.