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Many look for history to be made in Augusta today

History in the making?

Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 6:32 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 8:39 PM

Should he succeed in defeating Freddie Sanders on Tuesday, Richard Roundtree will be the first black man to hold that office in its 230-year history.

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Schools public safety Lt. Richard Roundtree would become Richmond County's first black sheriff.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Schools public safety Lt. Richard Roundtree would become Richmond County's first black sheriff.

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Richmond County sheriff

Augusta Commission

Richmond County school board

District Attorney, Augusta Judicial Circuit

12th Congressional District

Years from now when historians look back on this year’s election, many in Richmond County are hoping it will be one worth more than an obscure footnote.

“I think it is important in a very basic sense,” said Mallory Millender, a retired Paine College professor and a longtime observer of Augusta politics.

“There has been an historically strained relationship with law enforcement and the black community,” Millender said. “With a black sheriff, the black community will be looking forward to getting justice – from the way they are treated on a day-to-day basis all the way to the top of the department.”

Millender explained that he doesn’t mean that previous sheriffs – including Sheriff Ronnie Strength – have intentionally been unfair to black residents. But it isn’t about good intentions, he said.

“I’m talking about a different level of understanding,” he said, explaining that black residents expect Roundtree’s life experience would inform his decisions as sheriff. People’s expectations will be higher, he said.

“They are not looking for there to be unfairness against white people,” Millender said. “People expect a kind of justice that transcends that of previous sheriffs.”

Millender said that if Roundtree wins, he will be watched closely for missteps and mistakes.

“He should be scrutinized,” Mil­len­der said. “All (sheriffs) should be scrutinized.”

Roscoe Williams, a retired dean of students at Augusta State University, agreed that Roundtree’s actions as the first black sheriff will attract critical attention, but he’s not concerned.

“I think he will be as just as adamant about providing law and order as a sheriff as anyone, even more so,” Williams said. “I think he has been there and he has seen how devastating it can be when disorder begins to rule the day and he won’t let that occur.”

Williams said he thinks both Roundtree and Sanders have the qualifications and experience to do the job, and whoever is elected will serve the county well, “if they do what they say they will do.”

But if Roundtree becomes sheriff, Williams said he will need to make an immediate effort to demonstrate his fairness and leadership to all his constituents. If he does that, Williams said, in time, even his critics will come to respect him.

Retired ASU professor Ralph Walker said the outcome of Tuesday’s election is anything but certain. However, because he is a black Democrat in a majority black county, Walker said Roundtree has the inside track at winning on Tuesday.

“I think Freddie Sanders has a shot, but I know how difficult it is for a Republican to win a countywide office in Richmond County,” he said.

Walker said the fact that Presi­dent Obama is up for re-election will help Roundtree greatly, as it will all Democrats on the ballot by attracting more voters who lean that way to the polls. Although former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should win in Georgia, Walker fully expects Obama to carry Richmond County easily – as he did in 2008 – and also help carry other Democrats to victory in local contests.

Millender said watching the Roundtree campaign also reminds him of another historic election, the 1981 victory of Ed McIntyre, who became Augusta’s first black mayor.

“That was a terribly, terribly important moment,” Millender said

McIntyre, a former county commissioner, only held office a little more than two years because he was convicted of bribery and extortion during his tenure as mayor. He served a year and two months in federal prison.

Millender said Roundtree must guard against even the appearance of any impropriety and demonstrate exemplary leadership, should he take office. He should also surround himself with trusted advisers, people who understand his vision for the department, he said.

“I think he would get in and immediately do an audit and do everything else he can to cover his bases so he can’t be blamed for something that happened before he got there,” he said. “The hope that the community placed in McIntyre is being placed in Roundtree. [McIntyre] turned out to be a huge disappointment.”

Millender said no one wants that episode of Augusta history to repeat itself.

Comments (19) Add comment
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itsanotherday1
40425
Points
itsanotherday1 11/03/12 - 10:13 pm
9
5
Obama should be a good lesson

Obama should be a good lesson for people voting "to be a part of history".

augustarookie
300
Points
augustarookie 11/03/12 - 10:22 pm
11
3
Not the right one

Roundtree is not the right person to be putting faith in. He has demonstrated bad judgement in the past.

reba530
65
Points
reba530 11/03/12 - 11:20 pm
1
1
Wow!!!! Who cares. We all
Unpublished

Wow!!!! Who cares. We all know he will win this and yes we all know why. So who cares!!!!! I sure do not. Thank goodness I live in the great CC and do not have to ne bothered my a man like him. Absolutely in experienced as they come but who cares. Its the color that makes all the differece in the world.. Thank you and have a great day

reba530
65
Points
reba530 11/03/12 - 11:29 pm
1
1
And with this article telling
Unpublished

And with this article telling all that bs he will really be sure to win without a doubt.. I mean history wow people. Look Obama made it too as the first MIXED president. And what has he done but caused grief all over the world.. GO FIGURE

seenitB4
81872
Points
seenitB4 11/04/12 - 07:03 am
7
3
You have a chance to change Richmond county

Don't waste this chance to bring south Augusta back from the brink of neverland.....Freddie can help get the resources to put in places that have needed the help for years.......he won't be a token player for the BIG PLAYERS downtown....that is the elephant in the room.....don't get fooled by talk about history making ----the first anything----
Some don't want a wise man calling the shots....or calling THEM out.....he knows the players----he knows the law-----he can & will make a difference....YOU NEED MONEY to make it work....for too long the table has been tilted in the wrong direction....& I know YOU KNOW what I'm talking about!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/07/12 - 05:51 am
8
1
Why are certain people worried about "Historic Change",

when they should be worried about who can run the sheriffs office?

Little Lamb
43975
Points
Little Lamb 11/04/12 - 08:22 am
6
1
War on Women

Sure, Roundtree has the philanderer vote wrapped up, but why would women support him?

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 11/04/12 - 08:38 am
1
0
From the discussion it seems
Unpublished

we need a representative (sheriff for example) from each "culture". Only those form a culture can understand that culture.

If we use ARC extrapolation, we need a white, a black, an Asian, a Hispanic ( Latin or Not Latin), a Pacific Islander, etc. ( as per the census categories ) and females of each, all with the powers of the Sheriff Office.

This would therefore need to be applied to all government jobs that interface with diverse cultures. A duplicitous menagerie of office holders representing only minority interest.

Judges, meter readers, teachers, administrators, police officers, marshals, tax collectors.

Why not, everything else in ARC is chaos and confusion?

There is money to be made in the new "culturally correct office buildings", vehicles and uniforms.

We may want to apply this to private industry in ARC. Sort of like Cultural Affirmative Action.

Diverse Cultures, active and exploited, is definitely our greatest strength. From the great melting pot to the daily cobb salad.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/07/12 - 05:52 am
4
3
HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 11/04/12 - 09:44 am
4
7
Isn't it odd that out of 230
Unpublished

Isn't it odd that out of 230 years, there hasn't been 1 non white sheriff in Augusta?

Some people seem to over look the 400 + years of bondage and the affects of this bondage 100+ years later.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/04/12 - 10:04 am
7
0
HenryWalker3rd makes a point

I agree bondage and slavery occurred in the Americas between 1690-1776(87)

Legal Slavery continued until 1865

Illegal slavery & Jim Crow continued until 1968
Civil right freedom was not until 1970's.

Much has changed in Augusta and our Nation in the last 40 years, but much has not.

But it is still no reason to elect a person based on color and instead of skills either.

Equality means to judge a person by the same standard as oneself. So what does that make a person wanting your vote based on color and not skills and qualifications?

soapy_725
43555
Points
soapy_725 11/04/12 - 10:12 am
1
0
History to be made
Unpublished

Detroit, Cleveland, DC, Atlanta, Augusta, Milwaukee, Chicago, Newark,

loblolly
469
Points
loblolly 11/04/12 - 10:30 am
2
4
Little Lamb
Unpublished

And who is it that supports Senate candidates that that want to criminalize rape victims because a child conceived by rape is a "gift from God?" Makes a little philandering seem trivial don't you say?

Little Lamb
43975
Points
Little Lamb 11/04/12 - 10:46 am
3
0
Please Explain

It's completely off the subject of Roundtree's dalliances, but please explain how a rape victim is criminalized by a Senate candidate.

loblolly
469
Points
loblolly 11/04/12 - 11:50 am
2
2
Well if the rape victim has
Unpublished

Well if the rape victim has abortion, then Murdoch, a Romney endorsee, would make that illegal. Same as Akin. This telayes to yoir comment regarding Roundtree and why women would support him. Why would any Women be a Republican with a platform to criminalize rape victims?

countyman
19166
Points
countyman 11/04/12 - 01:41 pm
1
4
When did South Augusta and

When did South Augusta and downtown become the only two places in the county? The sheriff doesn't have anything to do with the splost projects, or private development in the county.

The downtown conspiracy theory can't stack up against the facts.

South Augusta= 3
West Augusta= 2
Summerville= 1
East Augusta= 1
Downtown= 1
Central Augusta/near Midtown= 1
Hephzibah= 1

just an opinion
2382
Points
just an opinion 11/04/12 - 03:19 pm
1
3
Mr. Millender

Mr. Millender is the biggest race baiter in Augusta's history. Your hatred ceases to amaze us.

bentman
455
Points
bentman 11/04/12 - 04:00 pm
5
3
With Roundtree the sheriff's

With Roundtree the sheriff's office will be converted to a bunch of social workers.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 11/04/12 - 05:02 pm
7
2
black people
Unpublished

If it's about the Sheriff being black can we have a re-do? I can name about five black guys I'd rather have as Sheriff.

Ben There
56
Points
Ben There 11/04/12 - 06:19 pm
3
3
Richmond County Sheriff's Department

As a victim of crime in Richmond County and in my dealing with the Richmond County Sheriff's Department, all I can say is that the Sheriff's Department is so pathetic that I seriously doubt who the Sheriff is is going to make any difference at all.
That's why I live in Columbia County.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 11/04/12 - 06:25 pm
3
2
Fact
Unpublished

CC would not exist @ the level that is does if it were not for RC/Augusta

Gage Creed
15807
Points
Gage Creed 11/04/12 - 06:58 pm
1
0
If there were not a

If there were not a hospitable climate on earth, species as we know them would not exist! You can quote me on that!

Signed, Captain Obvious

bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 11/05/12 - 10:10 am
3
0
I don't think I will take

I don't think I will take that chance. First black sheriff? What is your point? We do not need to vote anybody in just because they are the first of anything!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/07/12 - 05:53 am
1
0
I agreed with HW3 twice in a row, is the world ending?

HenryWalker3rd more less said Columbia County would not exist @ the level that is does, if it were not for RC/Augusta.

lifelongresident
1317
Points
lifelongresident 11/05/12 - 11:48 am
0
0
if roundtree gets elected it
Unpublished

if roundtree gets elected it will be open season on all law-abiding citizens of richmond county. roundtree has already stated he believes in "other means" to punish criminals. so all of the "dregs" of society waiting on their checks while selling drugs and robbing and raping will get a "stern" lecture and "finger-wagging" then let go to committ more crimes. it wouldn't suprise me if he will try to close all the jails in the county

itsanotherday1
40425
Points
itsanotherday1 11/05/12 - 11:52 am
2
0
Riverman and ARC sheriff

RM has often posited that a black chief LEO in ARC would be a good thing in terms of building trust and relating to the culture of the majority.

I agree 100%, but Roundtree ain't that guy. He has so much overweight baggage that the airlines would refuse him a ticket. Bring in a guy like Rueben Greenberg(Charleston), and I would go to Richmond County to campaign for him. The second largest city in Georgia needs an effective, qualified top dog, not a token. I'm not a resident of RC, but with Augusta being the anchor/hub of the CSRA, it is all of our interests for Augusta to thrive.

countyman
19166
Points
countyman 11/05/12 - 03:27 pm
1
0
The major

The major commercial(renovated Sams, Costco, Carmax) along Bobby jones/I-20 are located in Richmond County. The only new major building in that area in Columbia County is the Aldi underway.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/06/12 - 11:06 pm
0
0
Looking at the numbers as of 9:55pm

Augusta has voted and 2/3's of Augusta was not concerned with the numerous documented ethical, professional and moral issues in Mr. Roundtree's past.

The Mob just wanted Historic Change that they could equate with and they have it.

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