Community members gather to support Chatham County Sheriff

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — After Black Lives Matter Savannah called for Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher to resign Friday, dozens of supporters showed up at Wilcher’s office Monday.

Jack Smith said he wasn’t surprised by the number of people who turned out for the impromptu rally. “Not at all,” he said. “You see a diverse bunch of people and he (Wilcher) deserves every bit of it.”

Linda Wilder Bryan who is African American said she doesn’t support the call for Wilcher to step aside. “He is the only one you all who has been elected and is trying to do the best that they can to keep their promises,” she told the crowd.

Sheriff Wilcher told us the show of support meant a lot. “You know it means they are with me,” the sheriff said. “Whether you’re black or white it doesn’t matter, they’re here for one thing and that’s to stand behind me because they elected me to do the job.”

BLM Savannah leader Jomo Kenyatta said Friday that for years, African American men have been mistreated at the jail and that some have died. He called for Wilcher to step down or face lawsuits.

Wilcher supporters say the sheriff has been in office less than a year and is making changes and improvements at the jail facility.

“I’m supporting our sheriff and a show for all law enforcement. I think it’s a time that we’re disgracing the people that help us,” said Dobie Gilfillam.

Willder Bryan and some other African Americans who attended said they don’t support Kenyatta’s leadership and don’t believe he is sanctioned by Black Lives Matter.

Kenyatta told reporters Friday he is aligned with a BLM group in South Carolina and has worked closely with BLM in Atlanta. When told that some locals believe he is an outsider he replied that “he grew up in Georgia and has lived in Savannah for the last year.”

Still, Wilder Bryan is not convinced. “And so we can’t let people come into our community and divide us and then not stand for people (like the sheriff) who are doing what they’re supposed to do,” she told the crowd.

Wilcher told us he has no plans to resign. “They can beat me in 2020 and I don’t think they can so bring it on,” Wilcher said.

When reached about the show of support, Kenyatta responded that there has “not been a public show of support for black men (who have died or been injured) in the jail.” He said plans for legal action will continue.

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