Local News

Johnston commissioners back sheriff

Posted September 22, 2008

— Johnston County commissioners on Monday lined up behind embattled Sheriff Steve Bizzell, indicating they have no intention of seeking his removal over racially inflammatory remarks.

On Friday, 26 civil rights groups sent a letter to the commissioners, demanding Bizzell's ouster. The groups said comments he made recently to a reporter for The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh raise serious doubts about his department’s ability to enforce the law without discriminating against Latinos.

In a Sept. 7 article in which Bizzell talked about his frustration with the changing face of the county where he grew up, he called Mexicans "trashy" and said the growing Latino population in his county was "breeding like rabbits."

Bizzell later apologized for the remarks, saying his comments were targeted at illegal immigrants and not all Latinos.

Bizzell hasn't responded to repeated requests for further comment.

Cookie Pope, chairwoman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners, issued a statement Monday on behalf of the board, saying that commissioners supported Bizzell's "successful efforts to protect the citizens of Johnston County against crimes."

Pope noted in the statement that Bizzell had apologized, and she called on his critics to let the incident pass.

"As children, we learned that a wound never heals as long as you continue picking at it," she said in the statement. "We are committed to uniting our community, and we expect the forces that would like to divide out community to support our efforts to heal."

The American Civil Liberties Union already has requested records from the Johnston County Sheriff's Office to determine whether deputies have engaged in a pattern of racial profiling of Latinos.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • news4u Sep 24, 2008

    An illegal alien IS an illegal alien.

    Everyone may be entitled to his own opinion but everyone is not entitled to his own truth.

    Truth is but one.

  • Firm Believer Sep 23, 2008

    I too support him and thank him for his service to the community. We need to stand up and quit being run over by these people and the liberal machine that is pushing the incident. I can promise you if it were the other way around you would hear nothing. GOOD JOB STEVE!!!! KEEP UP THE FIGHT!!!!

  • VT1994Hokie Sep 23, 2008

    The CC should have backed him. He is one of the best in the state based on what I have read. So what? He told the truth. Maybe all of us have said things like he said! It is still the truth! I hate that some of these people are here illegally. It makes me a little frustrated that some are committing a lot of crime, we pay for those that are in jail, feed them, and some are appointed a lawyer to defend them.

    Sheriff Bizzell is human and doing a great job. We need more public people to speak up and tighten up our laws in my opinion.

  • clover1019 Sep 23, 2008

    thank you sherriff bizzell for saying what need to be said. He does not support illegal activity-what do you know!

  • 2SWEETBOYS Sep 23, 2008

    Mr. Middle of the Road~ maybe you should take the career path in Law Enforcement and see if you can help the situation.

    "Poor enforcement is part of the problem. Kids speed and know they can get by with it",

    I beg to differ, I know my husband stops teenagers all the time for speeding and issues them a ticket, gives them the lecture and so forth....

    And the Sheriff does talk the talk and walk the walk!!!!! And even made the news!!!!

  • babyblue2 Sep 23, 2008

    gpcherokee........well, so far every time one of the "cry babies" have cried discrimination we have given in. that's what's wrong now, no one abides by the law, the rules and regulations that are set forth. because they don't agree with them they protest and want them changed. if they don't want to live by the rules and laws here in america, then go the heck back to where ever they came from. and take the civil rights groups with you!

  • ses12067 Sep 23, 2008

    Thank you Sheriff Bizzell for your outstanding service to the legal, tax paying residents of Johnston County. You have my backing as well. I think that with this statement by the Commissioners, they not only back him, they agree!!!

  • Tax Man Sep 23, 2008

    Got a question for you all: How many of the 26 civil rights groups have their headquarters and pay taxes in Johnston County? They are the only ones that have any right to even discuss this - the rest of them need to just go away and quit whining. I suggest we investigate these organizations to see how many illegal criminal aliens work for them.

  • mmania Sep 23, 2008

    everyone thinks it he just said it.

  • gpcherokee Sep 23, 2008

    If every cry-baby got their wishes, then there would be no law enforcement and we would all be dead!