News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Man up! That's the challenge to Democratic candidate for sheriff of Richmond County Richard Roundtree. One night after debate night in America, the Republican challenger for top cop is knocking Roundtree for refusing to debate.
"If you think I don't have qualifications, then be man enough to get up there and get in front of the people and tell them why I don't have qualifications," said Republican candidate for sheriff Freddie Sanders.
Sanders launched a blistering attack on Lt. Roundtree during our weekly radio segment on 96.3 KISS FM for refusing to debate.
"To put it kindly, what they do is tell lies about what I've said," he said. "And then they won't let me defend it."
The former police chief and now attorney calls Roundtree's position laughable.
"I have found trying cases all these years if the other side doesn't show up," Sanders said, "I have a pretty good chance of winning."
Sanders says he was shocked by Roundtree's statements on our weekly segment.
"Our job is peacekeepers. We are not law enforcement officers." said Lt. Roundtree about the Sheriff's Office. "We're peacekeepers."
"And I think this is insulting to the black community," Sanders said. "If I say I'm going to love you ... I'm not going to enforce the law ... that gets them votes."
Sanders is accusing the Roundtree camp of being soft on crime.
"And it's insulting," Roundtree said. "Whether you are black or white, you don't want people breaking in your house or robbing or raping you."
"Are you saying that you are not going to be hard on crime?" we asked Roundtree.
"No." he replied. "We've always said violent offenders belong in jail. We've been in law enforcement for almost 20 years now. Those are my issues. They are not debatable."
Time is ticking. Early voting for the Nov. 6 election starts Oct. 15 in Georgia.