Don’t rush to judgment on Sharpsburg mayor-elect’s arrest

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Tuesday, May 8 in Sharpsburg, after the town’s mayoral electoral victory of Robert Williams Jr., the freshly elected official was pulled over by local law enforcement while allegedly driving under the influence among other alleged violations. However, due to the circumstances around the post-election traffic stop that roused the occurrence and the subsequent charges, there are serious concerns regarding the incident. While we expect the whole truth of the matter to be revealed in the courts, we know the man who has sought our votes is a man who respects and obeys the law.

As pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Rocky Mount for the past 48 years, I have had the pleasure of serving as Mr. Williams’ minister for the past 22 years. Mr. Williams currently serves as a deacon and has faithfully served our church, his community and his country with dignity. Williams has served both as a soldier in the United States military in the Middle East and as a peace officer in North Carolina. Indeed, he is a man of character who believes in serving others.

While we do not condone the allegations of what has been reported, we do not prematurely condemn him. Attacks on the character of a public servant are hurtful, especially when they are not completely truthful. Furthermore, they attempt to undermine the clear statement from the voters of Sharpsburg that actually seeks change in their local leadership.

The surrounding circumstances that are not being discussed necessitate the need to raise pertinent questions for knowledge-sharing purposes for the public to consider including: Why was the special election held May 8 conducted in the first place? What would happen if the SBI investigated the irregularities and potential injustices of Mr. Williams’s accusers, namely the Sharpsburg Police Department and other areas of the Sharpsburg city government? How long will questionable voting practices continue in the Sharpsburg community that disenfranchise its citizens?

The suspicious circumstances of this pullover underscore that it’s time for the government in the city of Sharpsburg to represent all the people in the city. The citizens of Sharpsburg clearly demonstrate their desire to have fresh direction for the town and smart leadership that will enhance the quality of living in the community.

The Rev. Thomas L. Walker

Rocky Mount