Protesters claim racism within Lauderdale Co. Sheriff’s Office

Protesters claim racism within Lauderdale Co. Sheriff’s Office

LAUDERDALE CO., Tenn. (WMC) - Some Lauderdale County residents are doubling down on their efforts to make their voices heard amid allegations of racism against their sheriff.

While they take to the streets, they say there are signs of progress in their community.

On their third day of protests, residents gathered in the town square of Ripley chanting about getting rid of long time Lauderdale County Sheriff Steve Sanders.

"Went to sheriff's house to at least get him to speak to us, to give us some answer to what's going on and why he will not resign,” said Michael Joy, protester.

Protesters stood outside the sheriff's house Thursday morning where "no trespassing" signs have gone up in his front yard.

"I guess he knew we were coming and he knew we were going to take a stand,” said Joy.

Calls for sheriff to resign over audio recordings

WMC Action News 5′s Janice Broach has been trying to contact Sheriff Sanders since Tuesday for a comment. He’s dodged her twice, ducking into his house when he sees us approach.

The protesters say there is racism within the sheriff’s office.

But they see some hope in the county after the indictment of former Lauderdale County reserve deputy Robert Wenzler.

"Somebody’s looking into it. Somebody’s finally looking into it in Lauderdale County. We been needing,” said Jamie Tatlor, protester.

According to TBI investigators, Wenzler fired his weapon at a black man without cause in a field off Hyde Road, and then gave several conflicting statements about the February incident.

The affidavit says Wenzler stopped the victim without reason and fired his weapon at the victim's car as he was driving away.

Wenzler is charged with aggravated assault, official oppression and tampering with governmental records.

Protesters say the problems start at the top with Sheriff Steve Sanders.

"He needs to resign now,” said Joy.

The protesters say they will be back out Friday morning at the sheriff’s house to protest. According to county officials, that is also the day the sheriff plans to publicly issue a statement about the allegations against him

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