A North Carolina sheriff, in all his caucasity, likely never imagined he’d be at the center of an investigation into a phone call he made to blow off a little steam. He likely thought that calling his colleagues “black bastards” or even threatening to fire them for no reason other than their race was nothing out of the ordinary. But his calls were recorded, and now he knows.
According to reporting from WECT, Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene was narrowly elected in 2018 and won by just 34 votes. Former Capt. Jason Soles was on the other end of the infamous calls. He was slated to fill in and lead the sheriff’s office while Greene was under an investigation to determine whether he could legally serve in the role.
In one call, Greene was ranting that someone had uncovered and reported on the fact that he didn’t live in Columbus County and had been improperly sworn in. He was convinced that the “snitch” was either Lewis Hatcher, the former sheriff and Greene’s rival for the job, or Melvin Campbell, a sergeant who’d served for 30 years—both of whom are Black.
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Since publishing this story, Greene resigned his role as sheriff Columbus County, Insider reports.
Greene maintained has continued to deny any racism on his part.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Greene alleged that the audio of him had been altered by Soles.
"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.”
“I’m sick of it. I’m sick of these black bastards,” Greene reportedly said to Soles. “I’m going to clean house and be done with it. And we’ll start from there.”
To make matters worse, if that’s even possible, Greene didn’t want to hire Soles in the first place. He wanted a man named Aaron Herring to serve as interim sheriff. But Herring had been arrested in 2015 for punching a Black man in the face. The victim was being held in the back of a police car on suspicion of selling marijuana at the time of Herring’s assault.
"(Herring) had beat me all in the top of my face, all on the side of my right side of my head. I had a knot on top of my head, and the whole side of my face was swollen up," Juwarn Britt told authorities after he filed a federal complaint against Herring and another officer.
Herring was eventually found not guilty and remains in his job at the Columbus County sheriff’s office.
After Soles was appointed interim sheriff, Greene began calling him, WECT reports.
“This one particular phone call that [I] received, he made the comment that he hated Democrats. And then he said, ‘I take that back. I hate a black f**king Democrat.’ And, and I knew right then, I was like, ‘Wow, this is coming from the sheriff.’ And, I had to start recording those conversations,” Soles said.
Today, Soles is running for sheriff against Greene and says he’s concerned about racist comments and his potential treatment of the Black law enforcement officers in his command.
In 2019, Soles recorded a six-minute conversation with Greene. Below are some parts of that conversation. For context, Greene is raging about finding the people responsible for leaks about Greene’s improprieties:
“They’re gone. This is as fair as I’m going to be. Just giving you a heads up, that’s coming. When me and [attorney] Boyd [Worley] and [wife] Angie [Greene] go through it tomorrow, the first numbers we see, they’re gone. They ain’t going to make it, brother. I’m telling you, they might as well find somewhere else to go. Because if you ain’t with me—I ain’t referring to you—but if they’re not with me, they’re against me. And they’re gone. And that’s just how it’s going to be. Clarity—whatever her name is, I don’t trust her. Dawn says she’s racist... If I have to fire every mother f**ker out there, guess what?”
“I’m tired of them f**king with me. It ain’t happening no more. No godd**n more. So you let them know, if I find their numbers in the next day or two, they ain’t going to like it. They damn sure ain’t going to like it. And that’s got to be somebody in the command staff. Clarity. I don’t trust her. She’s just sitting there staring at me the other day, the whole time. Staring at me the whole f**ing time.”
Greene is referring to a Black detention officer by the name of Augustine Clarida, WECT reports.
“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. “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.”
Greene is also recorded saying he will fire those who’re “guilty by f**king association.”
“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 was recorded saying.
Soles claims to have brought the recording to various county authorities, but no one stepped up to do anything. It took intervention from the media to finally get the attention of Columbus County District Attorney Jon David. On Monday, David formally requested that the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) open a probe into allegations of obstruction of justice by the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.
Meanwhile, as WECT reports, Greene managed to whitewash his command.
Lt. Jeremy Barber and Captain Clementine Thompson, both of whom are Black, were demoted by Greene.
Two months after Greene was elected, Sgt. Melvin Campell was abruptly fired after 30 years.
Today, there there are just a few Black deputies, and, as WECT reports, none are high-ranking officers. Linked here is a photo of the entire Columbus County Sheriff’s Office from 2021. You do the math.