CULPEPER COUNTY, Va. — Some Culpeper County residents are considering taking legal action to remove Culpeper Co. Sheriff Scott Jenkins from office.
This comes after the sheriff made anti-Black Lives Matter comments to the department’s Facebook page.
The Sheriff posted a video message to the department's Facebook page Saturday following up on his previous posts, one of which was shared in a Fox News segment about the shooting of two Los Angeles deputies.
"Citizens should alert themselves to the true nature of this violence and realize the intent is for it to continue across our nation during the months ahead. Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement is not peaceful and at their heart are violent. They may bring their violence to any community at any time and especially where they see weakness in local government officials. These are a few of the many examples across our nation,” the Facebook post attributed to Sheriff Scott Jenkins said.
The video on Saturday by Sheriff Jenkins doubled down on his stance that the Black Lives Matter movement has caused issues in communities. Something that some residents in his county have not agreed with.
“For those wondering, why did the sheriff make a so called polarizing Facebook post or why alarm our community with things not happening here, please remember that it's my job as Sheriff to alert citizens to potential safety issues. I serve all the citizens. And we're all one community, and it's my job to protect everyone, even if some find my message uncomfortable," Jenkins said in the video message to community members.
Jenkins went on to acknowledge that many people were offended as if the message in the Facebook post was directed at them, but said that was incorrect thinking.
“Our local citizens supporting the BLM movement are not in favor of killing police or the overthrow of the American government, but many in our community may not know there's a clear difference between the BLM organization and the BLM movement," Jenkins said.
The potential legal action to remove the sheriff over his comments could be in the form of a potential recall petition, according to Northern Virginia attorney Kim Daugherty.
“A recall petition in Virginia is prescribed by law, and it's essentially the method by which you can ask a circuit court in a specific jurisdiction to remove an elected officer from office,” Daugherty said. “In this circumstance in Culpeper based on the numbers I've seen that would be about 1,518 signatures.”
The sheriff also previously shared a post to the department’s main Facebook page that described a Roanoke incident that was determined to be fake, according to Daugherty. In part the shared Facebook post said, “Chaos is coming to Mayberry. The majority of Americans still have no idea that they are living in the midst of a low-boil Civil War.”
“Those types of comments are really giving legitimacy and traction to this idea of, we need to be prepared because there may be a Civil War coming, we need to be prepared in order to defend our families and our homes,” Daugherty said. And again, it's one thing if you believe that, but it's quite another for a public official to send that message out and it be based off of a completely false story.”
Daugherty, who has so far played an organizing roll in the potential petition, said there isn’t any official petition yet and is very much in the organizing phase. She said the idea has taken off and she’s been in discussions with Culpeper County local leaders and concerned citizens.
“We're not only looking at a recall petition, people are fearful that the Commonwealth attorney isn't going to faithfully litigate this,” Daugherty said. “I have full confidence that Commonwealth attorney will discharge his duties appropriately, but we are also looking at other avenues. Gaining 1500 signatures is a strong message, so even if we just go through the signature phase, that's still going to send a strong message to the Culpeper Sheriff that this type of division in his community is not what his constituents want.”
“It took hold because the comments were so incendiary, and they're so outside of what the Sheriff's duties are. He's not there to instill fear in his constituents, he's not there to provide false information and incite them,” Daugherty said. “These aren't comments that he's making on his private personal pages. This is the official position of his office. The second reason that I'm hearing people are very impacted by the sheriff's comments is because they really don't feel safe in Culpeper county anymore after these comments have been made.”
Sheriff Jenkins talked with WUSA9 on Wednesday and said the department serves everyone equally no matter the walk of life or group they’re in and reiterated that in Saturday's message.
“Let me emphasize strongly that we know it goes both ways. We know there's anxiety and intimidation from others, such as a Boogaloo boys, white supremacy groups, and just the individuals choosing to fly large rebel flags and drive by our Black owned businesses or events," the Sheriff said in Saturday's video message. "We're aware, and we're confronting these people head on. To those people my message is simple, we're all Americans, and we're one community. Have your history and your beliefs as you so choose, but do not try to intimidate and harass others, target people due to race or religion or other differences. If you do, then plan to meet us.”
Daugherty said there’s no timeline on when a possible petition could be filed and said they are looking at not only recent comments, but past actions and comments as well by Sheriff Jenkins.