Granville County, NC — As imaginative as we are folks, we can’t make this stuff up. A North Carolina Sheriff allegedly plotted to kill one of his own deputies, Joshua Freeman, after the deputy threatened to expose him as a racist.
The deputy had secret recordings of Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins which characterized the sheriff as a racist. According to the indictment, Freeman had a tape of Wilkins making “racially offensive” comments so the proper thing to do in the sheriff’s mind, supposedly, was to kill his colleague.
Wilkins was arrested and charged with “two counts of felony obstruction of justice for withholding knowledge of a credible threat made against Joshua Freeman.” According to USA Today:
Wilkins instructed an unnamed person to murder the deputy who was planning to publicly reveal a tape of him using "racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh" in August 2014, according to a felony indictment unsealed Monday. Wilkins allegedly said "the only way to stop him is kill him," and encouraged the individual to "take care of it."
It was understood the hitman had been given his mark and was encouraged to kill Freeman. But the sheriff then began to give specific instructions on how, when, and where to carry out the hit. The report continues:
The sheriff discussed the time and location where the murder might occur with the would-be assassin, according to the indictment. He also counseled him on how to avoid getting caught, telling him that if "you ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on," the indictment alleges.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman issued the official statement detailing Wilkins’ arrest resulted from a 10-month long investigation by the NC State Bureau of Investigation alongside the FBI.
Wilkins, according to the report, claimed to instruct the hitman to keep quiet saying, “The only way we find out these murder things is people talk...You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing."
Incredulously, Sheriff Wilkins gets to keep his job up until the point at which he is convicted. To police accountability activists, the notion a law enforcement officer can draw a salary while under indictment for crimes of plotting murder is disconcerting.
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We cannot think of another profession whereby an accused and feloniously indicted person gets to keep their job, especially when their job is to uphold the law, arrest criminals, and keep the bad guys off the street, not encourage them to kill fellow cops.
District Attorney Freeman told reporters, “Technically...he can continue to serve if he chooses to until convicted,” and said a second ongoing investigation in Wilkins’ department involves “accounting practices and controlled substance interdiction efforts.”
Wilkins was released on $20,000 bond and is awaiting trial a free man, gainfully employed as the Granville County Sheriff.
While police going after their own for exposing crimes within the department may seem like a plot for a Hollywood movie, the fact is that it happens quite often.
Previously, the Free Thought Project brought you the story of Laura Schook, who tried to call out corruption in her department. Naturally they tried to run her through the mud and fire her.
Also, we broke the story of a cop in Buffalo, NY who was beaten and fired after she stopped a fellow cop from nearly killing a handcuffed man.
In Kentucky, a sheriff’s deputy was fired for “insubordination” after pointing out that the sheriff had planted drugs in another deputy’s car. Even though the sheriff was indicted, the deputy was still fired.
In September 2015, we exposed the Baltimore police department’s attempt to intimidate a whistleblower officer. Detective Joe Crystal became a target of intimidation for his entire department after testifying against other officers in a misconduct case. Following his testimony, he received threats from other officers, and even found dead rats on his and his wife's cars. Since that case, more than a dozen Baltimore cops have been indicted for corruption.
The thin blue line, it seems, is akin to the mafia; cross it and you will be snubbed out by the rest of the gang. It's nice, however, to finally see they have no problem admitting it.