Multiple sources have reported this afternoon that District Attorney Jon David is taking steps to force Sheriff Jody Greene to leave office.
David has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into accusations of obstruction of justice against Greene and the sheriff’s office in the wake of a recorded conversation released last week by Jason Soles, Greene’s opponent in November.
State law allows for the removal of an elected sheriff for habitual or willful neglect of duty; willful misconduct and maladministration; corruption or extortion; conviction of a felony; or being convicted of “intoxication.”
The removal can be made by a resident Superior Court judge on the petition of “five qualified electors” in the county, at the request of the District Attorney. The accusers must sign the petition and testify.
No official paperwork had been filed with the clerk’s office as of 3:45 p.m. Monday.
The sources, all speaking on the condition of anonymity, said David is in the process of filing the necessary paperwork. He was expected to notify commissioners before tonight’s meeting, but it is not known if Greene’s removal will be discussed tonight. A large number of both supporters and opponents of the sheriff are expected to attend the 6:30 p.m. meeting. The board is in a special called executive session to discuss legal matters this afternoon.
The commissioners cannot remove Greene from office, since he is elected.
Soles, a Democrat, released a recording he said was of Greene using racist and vulgar language in a discussion about employees at the sheriff’s office. Soles made the recording in 2019 when he was in a court-ordered role as interim sheriff, while a lawsuit over Greene’s residency was decided.
Greene has questioned the authenticity of the recording, and asked why it took more than three years to release the six minutes of audio. Green also said Soles intentionally held the recording until weeks before the election.
Soles told media outlets that he has attempted to turn the recordings over to county commissioners, the State Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney’s office, but received no assistance except from Democrat Commissioner Giles Byrd.
Commissioners Ricky Bullard, Laverne Coleman and Jerome McMillian said Saturday they never heard the recording until it was shared with the media, and that Soles never contacted them. Other commissioners did not immediately return requests for comment. The State Bureau of Investigation did not say when they were made aware Soles’ allegations. David said last week that he heard of the recordings for the first time when they were released to the media.
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