Politics coming into play in Richmond County sheriff race

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When a group of black police officers who had endorsed sheriff’s Capt. Scott Peebles as their candidate for Richmond County sheriff were forced to retract that endorsement by the organization they purported to represent, some saw it as an unfortunate mix-up.

Other saw it as dirty pool.

“I said it was a lie,” said sheriff’s Lt. John Ivey, a rival candidate. “That’s what it was.”

Whether a mix-up or something sinister, it’s a sign the sheriff’s race is heating up, candidates say.

“I believe that some camps are going to do what­ever is necessary to win,” Ivey said.

The day after the endorsement, Joseph Akers, the interim executive director of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, said the men who had endorsed Peebles were not members of the organization. Akers disavowed the endorsement and demanded a retraction.

“They said they were members,” Ivey said. “Had they been members, they would have known that NOBLE cannot make an endorsement.”


Ivey and others in Augusta’s black community decried the incident as the work of outsiders – most of the officers were with the Waynesboro, Ga., police department – who were inserting themselves into Augusta politics.

The officers, including Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams, said it was an honest mistake. They said they were members of the Georgia chapter of NOBLE and were working to ensure that their membership status with the national organization was current.

Another candidate, School Public Safety Lt. Richard Roundtree, said he didn’t know the motive behind the endorsement, but he suspects it was to create the impression that Peebles was being embraced by the black law enforcement community.

“It adds to the perception that you are being embraced,” Roundtree said. “I think it was done to give the perception of that. There’s a lot of prominent Richmond County officers here. Have you seen anybody getting into this who can actually vote?”

Ivey suspects some deal was made to get the endorsement. He said one of the reasons that he got into the race is that Peebles told him personally that he was going to look outside the department for qualified blacks to fill higher positions on the sheriff’s force.

“He basically slapped me in the face when he told me that,” Ivey said.

Williams denied he was asked by Peebles or made offers by anyone from his campaign to make the endorsement.

Peebles said the whole thing was a series of unfortunate errors.

“I haven’t made an offer to anybody about anything,” he said. “I wish we had known from the beginning. We would not have (accepted) an endorsement from NOBLE.”


Peebles said when he got into the sheriff’s race, he wasn’t prepared for how quickly things would turn personal and ugly.

“It is an unfortunate part of politics that I wasn’t completely ready for,” he said. “In the beginning I would get so angry. I felt like I had to call people out. Some very negative and untrue things were said about me and my family.”

Now Peebles said he is at the point where he has stopped listening to rumors and is not interested in fighting back or settling scores.

“I just think there is enough negativity in Augusta as a whole. We’re divided enough already,” Peebles said. “We’re just trying to tell you why you want to vote for us. When people say things that aren’t true, we just are going to let it pass.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Robbie Silas said he’s trying to run a positive campaign, despite rumors about his disciplinary record. Silas said he has put that behind him.

“Sheriff (Ronnie) Strength put that to rest. He said it wasn’t true, and so it’s no longer an issue,” Silas said.

Silas said he’s not interested in attacking his opponents, but what his supporters do is their business. A few Silas supporters have made allegations about Peebles’ personal life.

Silas said he has nothing to do with them.

“If it is not the truth, then they don’t need to be putting it out there,” he said. “If they have some factual information, then I’m not going to stop somebody. I can’t control everybody that supports me.”


Silas said the best solution for these kinds of rumors is to have them vetted and exposed to public scrutiny, to see if there is anything to them.

“Why doesn’t someone go to the sheriff and ask him if this did happen? He’s not going to hide from any questions,” he said.

Peebles said he’s not responding to “blatant lies” and he’s not allowing his supporters to make those type of accusations against other candidates.

“If I have something to say as a candidate, I’m not going to have someone else say it for me,” he said.

But that is the way politics works, Ivey said. It’s all about power and who is in control.

“I think they feel it is slipping away, and they will do what it takes to get it back,” he said.

Ivey said that after his announcement in March he was faced with rumors that he wasn’t an actual candidate – that he had been persuaded to enter the race to split the black vote and give Peebles or Silas a better chance to win without a runoff.

“They may put up somebody to do that, but that wouldn’t be John Ivey,” he said. “I’ve lived through the struggle. I’ve seen it. I was there. I’m in the race to win it.”

He said some supporters have encouraged him to start slinging a little mud, too.

“There are others that will throw a rock and hide their hand,” he said. “If I throw one, I will say I did it.”

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NavyVeteran 07/14/12 - 06:25 pm
Several points

first, any group that uses a racial term or reference in their name is in and of itself, by using that name/term, RACIST.

second, why does it have to be "look outside the Department for qualified blacks. . ." What is wrong with finding the MOST QUALIFIED PEOPLE for the Department no matter where they are or who they are?

Augusta will NEVER, in my opinion become great until the racism stops. The "whats in it for me" and "Black/White" have to go before this area will ever grow.

National organizations, newspapers and groups that possibly may be considering relocating here and helping make this area grow are turning the page and looking elsewhere or are laughing at us. I believe they are laughing AT us not with us.

Mayor Deke, Councilmen, and other civic organizations, the ball is in your Court. Its broke, fix it.

Patty-P 07/14/12 - 06:51 pm
Mud-slinging shows a lack of

Mud-slinging shows a lack of professionalism...I would worry about candidates wanting to run that would tear people down with lies or negativity. Seems to take away from a persons character and trustworthinees...petty and almost juvenile behavior. The real issues in RC are overshadowed by pettiness.

HighSociety 07/14/12 - 07:48 pm
These are all good men that

These are all good men that have gave alot to our community. Most don't understand the time and effort they've put in. All of them have worked with each other in some capacity over time. It really upsets me to watch the community be divided over this race, but whats more heartbreaking is to see these men tearing each other down, knowing that not long ago they were probably protecting each others back and depending on each other in life or death situations. Hopefully the brotherhood of blue that has kept them together and safe for so many years will not be destroyed by the quick tongue of a few. Good luck to alll!

seenitB4 07/15/12 - 07:20 am
Sometimes we agree High....so true!

These are all good men that gave alot to our community. Most don't understand the time and effort they've put in. All of them have worked with each other in some capacity over time

Riverman1 07/15/12 - 07:28 am
Waynesboro Fiasco

About the Waynesboro fiasco. The other day on the radio Peebles, the OBAMA SUPPORTER, was interviewed by Ashley Brown. Peebles said he talked with the Waynesboro officers about the endorsement BEFORE they did it. Obviously, this was an attempted orchestrated move.

By the way, the only remarks I see in print about candidates having affairs and so on are being directed at Roundtree. There's one in another Chronicle article this morning. Roundtree's past affairs are brought up a lot while nothing is said about another candidate's. While I'm no Roundtree fan, there appears to be a double standard.

Truthbetold74 07/15/12 - 09:54 am
Does anybody else find it

Does anybody else find it weird that, according to his Campaign Expenditure Forms on ethics.ga.gov, Scott Peebles has paid 45% (Over $40,000) to a business owned and operated by his campaign manager? This same person just so happens to be the rumored next Chief Deputy if he wins the election. Plus if you look at the website for Executive Management Services they have absolutely nothing to do this type of stuff.
See ethics.ga.gov
3/27 $ 3,530.60
5/23 $ 8,380.14
6/3 $10,555.16
6/12 $ 6,822.96
6/29 $10,765.77
Pay me $10,000 a month and I’ll stand up to tell everybody how great you are too

Karen Slater-McDaniel
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/15/12 - 10:09 am
Maybe instead of these

Maybe instead of these numerous "forums" someone should sponsor an actual "debate" where the candidates would have the ability to debate issues instead of answering pre-arranged questions.

Truthbetold74 07/15/12 - 10:23 am
Double Standard

Riverman I agree completey about the double standard for the candidates and how the run their personal lives.

Since Roundtree was this week, I guess Silas will be next week and surprise surprise guess who they are saving for the Sunday before the election. Nice for the AC not to show favortisim.

nocnoc 07/15/12 - 02:50 pm

10 to 14 days before out before election date. Roundtree, Ivy and Sanders to endorse 1 of the 2 leaders in the polls.

Any one want to offer up any of their own predictions?

Truthbetold74 07/15/12 - 02:54 pm
Politics come into play

I wish policy would come into play. This seems to be more of a popularity contest then who actually would be best for the department and citizens.

HankPym 07/18/12 - 11:01 am

I have been in management for a long time and do not know the ins and out of the Sheriff's Office but it is crazy to think that you can not control people who want to support you but you want to control an organization of people that may not support you. Anyone who would allow their followers to give fictitious information without at least recommending that it be honorable and verified as truth before reporting it as such has no business being in any form of leadership much less the head of an office.

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