Only on 12: ‘Mistakes and misinformation’ to blame for controversy over endorsement of Richmond Co. sheriff candidate

Announcing the endorsement for Cpt. Scott Peebles on Monday. (WRDW-TV / July 3, 2012)
Announcing the endorsement for Cpt. Scott Peebles on Monday. (WRDW-TV / July 3, 2012)
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. -- There's more controversy involving the already heated race for Richmond County's sheriff.

A national organization says a local chapter does not exist.

On Monday, a group saying it was Region 7 of the Georgia Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives came forward, announcing its support of Cpt. Scott Peebles in the race for Richmond County sheriff.

On Tuesday, News 12 talked with national NOBLE leaders about the endorsement. Interim Executive Director Joseph Akers says none of the people present during Monday's news conference were not and have never been members of NOBLE. The release goes on to say that each of those at the news conference did apply for membership to NOBLE between 2 and 2:35 p.m. Tuesday on the organization's website. That is a day after they announced their endorsement of Peebles.

It is also worth noting that NOBLE is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that cannot and will not endorse any political candidate.

We have included the news release endorsing Peebles, as well as the response from the interim executive director of NOBLE.

“We learned today from the past and current presidents of the GA chapter that we were accepted on the state level, but it was not followed through for the national level,” said Waynesboro Police Chief Alfonzo Williams, who was part of Monday’s news conference, in a statement to News 12.

“Immediately upon learning this info, we moved to correct the oversight,” Williams said. “We are professionals and would not intentionally mislead the public. This boils down to honest mistakes and misinformation.”

Peebles released a statement early Wednesday morning:
“I appreciate these law enforcement executives showing courage and conviction in standing on their principals and endorsing me for sheriff," said Peebles in an exclusive statement to News 12. "I feel bad for them that this caused a controversy for their local chapter. Together, we can unite this community and make Augusta safer for everyone.”

Stay tuned to News 12 for the latest information.