Officials react to Governor's decision to suspend Greenville Co. sheriff

Sheriff Lewis holds a news conference (FOX Carolina/ March 1, 2018)

Greenville County officials are reacting to news that Sheriff Will Lewis was indicted Tuesday morning and has been suspended by the governor.

The Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor said a grand jury returned indictments Tuesday charging Lewis with misconduct in office and obstruction of justice.

Governor Henry McMaster issued an executive order shortly after, suspending Lewis and appointing former Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown as his temporary replacement.

Councilman Joe Dill

County Councilman Joe Dill said he hates to see something like this happen but he’d been expecting to see charges in the case

“I thought he’s done a great job. I hate to see something like this happen to a man that was doing such a good job,” Dill said.

He said on the outcome of the investigation, “I don’t see it any other way. This is the way the law is, when you are charged with something, this is what happen.”

Dill said he is confident Brown will do well once more in the role of sheriff.

“Johnny Mack will do a good job, he did a great job for 27-28 years. He’s not new at this. He’ll be able to step in and keep everything clicking,” Dill stated. “I would like to add that we have great men and women on the streets and in the sheriff’s office, they’re doing a great job. I’m always supportive of them. I encourage them to keep working.”

Councilman Willis Meadows

Willis Meadows, Greenville County Council District 19, released the following statement:“It’s sad this has happened but it is good to have some degree of closure and at least it is on the path to finally coming to some conclusion to all of this. It’s also encouraging to that McMaster have former Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown as the interim sheriff.”Council Chairman Butch Kirven

Council Chairman Butch Kirven described the situation as a long process, and one that was continuing.

“When all this broke, Greenville County citizens looked to county council for some sort of action," he sad. Adding, "county council has no authority over the sheriff except for some budgetary missions that we fulfill.”

Kirven said the council took the only action in its power back in October 2017 and drafted a non-binding resolution asking that Lewis step down.

He said Tuesday's developments show that South Carolina's process for handling these situations is working.

“The process is working. Johnny Mack Brown is going to be a great leader in the interim. The council is fully supportive of all our law enforcement officers and the county of Greenville is in good hands.”

Councilman Lynn Ballard

District 26 Councilman Lynn Ballard said he felt like "a burden was lifted" and that the sheriff's office would be in good hands under Brown's watch.

“This feels like a burden has been lifted off of the shoulders of all the people that work in the sheriff’s office. A lot of uncertainty has been taken away with this decision from the solicitor," Ballard said.

He added, "I have utmost respect for Sheriff Brown and I know he will come in and bring a stabilizing effect to the top level of management in the sheriff’s office."

Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller

Miller issued a statement praising the decision to appoint Johnny Mack Brown as the interim sheriff.I congratulate Johnny Mack Brown on his appointment today by Governor Henry McMaster as the Interim Sheriff of Greenville County. Sheriff Brown enjoys a long and distinguished career in law enforcement as well as an impeccable record and reputation of service to our community and state.

The Greenville Police Department pledges its full support to Sheriff Brown and the many honorable employees of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office as they strive to refocus their efforts in serving those living, working, and visiting our incredible community.FOX Carolina has reached out to several other county officials but have not yet received replies.

MORE - Greenville County Sheriff indicted on misconduct, obstruction charges

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