A North Carolina sheriff resigned after he was caught on tape saying he was going to fire his Black officers: 'It's just time to clean them out'

Police badge for detective - stock photo
Police badge for detective - stock photo  
  • Former Sheriff Jody Greene resigned from his position after a tape of him threatening to fire Black officers was leaked, according to WITN.

  • The conversation was recorded by the former acting Sheriff in 2019, who was running against Greene in 2022.

  • Greene denied any racial intent in his actions.

A Sheriff in Columbus County, North Carolina, resigned after he was caught on tape threatening to fire his Black police officers.

"I'm sick of it. I'm sick of these Black bastards," former Sheriff Jody Greene said in a recording obtained by NBC affiliate WECT. "I'm going to clean house and be done with it. And we'll start from there."

Greene resigned following an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation, according to the local news outlet, WITN.

The audio, which was obtained by WECT, was a recorded conversation that took place in February 2019 between then-Captain Jason Soles and Melvin Campbell, both of whom are Black.

Soles was running against Greene in the Columbus County Sheriff's election this year before his resignation, according to WECT.

According to the outlet, the election results were protested after claims that Greene did not live in Columbus County and that he was sworn in before the state certified the election results.

While election officials investigated these complaints, Soles was appointed as acting sheriff, according to WECT.

Immediately after his appointment, Soles would receive constant late-night phone calls from Greene, according to WECT.

Soles told the outlet he started recording the conversations after a phone call between him and Greene, where he made a comment saying he hated Black Democrats.

According to WECT, Greene wanted to know who in the department was communicating with his opponents during the election.

"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 in the audio obtained by WECT. "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."

According to the recording obtained by WECT, Greene threatened to fire anyone associated with his political opponents.

"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," Greene said.

Soles, who was running for Sheriff against Greene before he resigned, told the news outlet that he showed the recording to the County Commissioners during Greene's term.

Columbus County Commissioner Buddy Byrd, who was the only one to follow up with Soles, told the news WECT that nothing could be done without the support from his fellow commissioners, who he said backed Greene.

Soles would also meet with an agent from the States Bureau of Investigation, who told him that nothing could be done until the District Attorney or Attorney General launched a formal investigation and just to keep recording the conversations, according to WECT.

Columbus County Attorney Jon David told WECT that he learned about the recording for the first time on Monday and that while Greene's comments were not a criminal violation, they did raise concerns for bias policing.

Greene said in a statement that Soles altered the phone recording to further his campaign.

"The video has been altered to give Jason Soles' audience a distorted and misleading view Solely intended to further his campaign," Greene said in the statement. "As shown on the screen, the phone conversation lasted over 8 minutes. Jason only submitted 6 minutes of video to WECT for viewing, indicating the video has been altered."

"In my opinion, Jason's intent with the recording was to further incite racial division and to use the racial division to pursue his personal agenda of a political run for office," Greene said in the statement.

Greene denied any racial intent or actions in regard to the recorded phone conversation, according to his statement.

"I acknowledge there were racial tensions during the 2018 certification of the election and that the media and some members in the community were referring to the two political sides as black and white," Greene said.


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