A North Carolina man was re-elected as sheriff two weeks after he resigned from the same role over a flagrant and racist rant he went on about the black deputies working under him.
Republican Jody Greene defeated Democratic candidate Jason Soles by over 1,500 votes Tuesday, making him Columbus County sheriff once again. His win comes weeks after stepping down from the job following the leak of a foul audio recording from 2019.
During the phone call, recorded by Soles, Greene can be heard denigrating black sheriff’s office employees, according to WECT-TV.
Soles had been named acting sheriff as elections officials are investigating a complaint over whether Greene is eligible to serve as sheriff.
In the call, Greene called several black employees “bastards” and said he was “sick” of them. He also suggested firing black employees he felt were undermining him.
“Every black that I know, you need to fire him to start with, he’s a snake!” Greene said, according to court documents.
Soles gave the incendiary recording to WECT-TV in September, about a year after announcing he would run as a Democrat against Greene in this year’s sheriff’s election.
“It broke my heart. Because that’s not what I believe in. It upset me to the fact that I did have to start recording his phone calls. And I’m not wanting to go around recording people’s conversations. But … this was not the leader that we needed leading the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office making these racial slurs,” Soles told the TV station.
The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association called Greene’s commentary “inflammatory, racially derogatory, insulting, and offensive.” The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union both called for his resignation.
In October, District Attorney Jon David prompted Greene to “recognize the harm” his statements caused, and asked him to resign. When Greene declined to do so, David filed a petition for his removal.
Minutes before David was supposed to begin presenting arguments to support Greene’s removal from office, the Republican resigned from his role.
Hours after his resignation, Greene wrote on Facebook that he was still running for re-election.
“Due to my love for Columbus County and to spare my fellow citizens along with my family and friends the ordeal and spectacle of a long trial, I resigned as Sheriff of Columbus County for the term elected in November 2018 effective this morning. The allegations … are not true. They were politically motivated,” Greene said in the post last month.
“I’m still running for Sheriff of Columbus County in the November 8, 2022 election. I am running to make Columbus County better and safer for ALL our citizens.”
The District Attorney’s Office said in October that if Greene won re-election, it would have an “ethical obligation” to file a new petition to remove him.
Following his win, in which he received 54.26% of the vote compared to Soles’ 45.74%, Greene thanked Columbus County residents for their support.
“I am so honored for your vote of confidence in me and the staff at the Sheriff’s Office. I promise we will not let you down, I am the Sheriff for everyone no matter race, color, religion, sex orientation, or national origin,” he posted to Facebook.
His win will be certified by the Columbus County Board of Elections on Nov. 18.