A North Carolina sheriff was caught on tape using racist language about his fellow officers amid an election dispute in 2019, a local TV station reported on Wednesday.
“I’m sick of these Black bastards,” Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene said in a recorded phone call, reported by Wilmington’s WCET. “I’m going to clean house and be done with it. And we’ll start from there.”
After narrowly winning the election for county sheriff in 2018, Greene was temporarily replaced by former Cpt. Jason Soles as a lawsuit proceeded to determine whether Greene or his opponent Lewis Hatcher was the rightful sheriff, according to WCET.
Soles, who is currently running against Greene for the position, told WCET that he started receiving calls from Greene at the time, in which he used racist language about Hatcher and ex-Sgt. Melvin Campbell, both of whom are Black.
“We’ll cut the snake’s head f—— off. Period,” Greene said in a February 2019 call, according to WCET. “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 believed that someone in his department had leaked information to Hatcher and Campbell that led to the lawsuit over the 2018 election and was trying to obtain phone records from Verizon to find the source of the leak.
Soles began recording the calls upon hearing Greene’s racist language and brought them to the county commissioners. However, it fell on “deaf ears,” leading Soles to approach the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), WCET reported.
After obtaining a copy of the recording on Tuesday, the SBI said it was investigating the sheriff’s office for obstruction of justice, according to WCET.
Greene denied any racial intent to his language in a Facebook post on Wednesday, noting that the department serves “all citizens no matter their race, color, or creed.”
“I feel the recording is a personal attack, an attack on my accomplishments as Sheriff, and an attempt to discredit the successful work of the Sheriff’s Office for the last four years,” he added.