The national headquarters of a Georgia chapter of black law enforcement executives that endorsed a sheriff’s candidate Monday is disavowing that endorsement, according to a news release.
Joseph Akers, the interim executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) said the people who endorsed sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles are not members of the organization and do not have the right to endorse a political candidate.
Akers said that as a 501(c) 3 organization, NOBLE cannot endorse any political candidate and that a cease-and-desist letter has been sent to each of the individuals involved along with a demand to retract the endorsement.
One of them, Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams, said all the police officers who were involved had made a mistake that they intended to correct.
Williams said he and the others had joined the Georgia chapter but were not aware that they were required to pay dues to the national organization to become full-fledged members.
“We learned today that you can’t be a member of the Georgia chapter without paying national dues,” Williams said. “We thought we were members in good standing.”
Williams also said he and the others who endorsed Peebles were not aware of the organization’s prohibition against political endorsements. He said they would abide by the order to retract the endorsement and instead endorse Peebles as individual police officers.
“We still stand by our individual endorsements,” he said.
Pat Labat, the president of the Georgia chapter of NOBLE and chief of the City of Atlanta Department of Corrections, said the matter was primarily miscommunication. Labat said he had spoken to Akers and to a member of the delegation that had endorsed Peebles and it seemed to be an honest mistake.
“We will take all that into account and move forward from there,” he said.
Akers said those who gave the endorsement had each applied for membership online Tuesday.
“Those applications have been forwarded to our membership committee for review,” he said in the release.