Chatham County, Georgia sheriff John Wilcher should resign after the deaths of several Black inmates at a local detention Center, said a group claiming to represent Black Lives Matter in Savannah Friday, WTOC reported.
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The group, which Black Lives Matter denied its affiliation to its national movement, called for Wilcher’s resignation within 30 days at a recent Chatham County Commission meeting, the report says. More than 100 individuals lawsuits on behalf of inmates and another case to investigate conditions at the Chatnam County Detention Center will go to court if the sheriff decides to stay in his post, said group spokesman Jomo Johnson, who claimed to be an administrator of the National BLM movement in Savannah ‘under care’ of the Columbia, South Carolina chapter.
Five Black inmates deaths were “preventable” since Wilcher took office, said Johnson in a prepared statement read aloud at the end of the televised meeting that drew attention to racism targeting jailed African Americans.
“What is troubling to many of us is the lack of care and lack of concern and lack of tears by Sheriff Wilcher for the death of continual black men,” Johnson read. “We personally have nothing against Sheriff Wilcher. We personally do not necessarily want a black sheriff; that is not our goal. We simply want a sheriff who can keep black men alive, or if something happens, is willing to show contrition and tears when those black men die.”
Wilcher defended his office and the circumstances behind the deaths that have happened since he came on board.
“There are two whites and three blacks that have died since I’ve been in there, and those were natural, natural, suicide, suicide, suicide,” Wilcher said. “You can’t control peoples’ minds. You don’t ever know what they’re gonna do.”
Some community members are supporting Wilcher despite the criticism, WSAV reported. Wilcher emphasized the Open Records Act in his defense before shutting down any plan of a resignation.
“If y’all want me out of office, beat me in 2020,” said Wilcher, “And I don’t think you can.”