Sheriff Steve Loftis dropped a punch on his political challenger Will Lewis today that included providing the former deputy's reasons for leaving the Greenville County Sheriff's Office in 2011.
Loftis also focused on Lewis's campaign -- calling it filth and lies. But before we go forward, here is the actual word Loftis used.
"I am humbled and energized by the show of support for my reelection on Tuesday. Each ballot cast in my favor not only acknowledged our accomplishments, it also recognized those of the Greenville County Sheriff's Office as a whole. For that, I am deeply grateful. Our campaign carried the primary election by more than a two to one majority to the closest competitor, and I look forward to the runoff election on June 28 and continuing to serve as your Sheriff.
We have run a clean and positive campaign throughout, despite the attacks aimed at myself and at the Sheriff's Office. My opponent, Will Lewis, has been the source of these attack mailers and messaging in an attempt to manipulate voters. The content of the mailers was not only untrue, it was hateful, and aimed to distract from Lewis' record of misconduct. He knew this information was false. The news media reported that the content was untrue, and both SLED and the solicitor's office closed the investigation. My attendance at the Sheriff's Office has been steady and these vicious attacks are not true. I even supplied The Greenville News with my calendar for the last year to prove my whereabouts and my activities. Just look at this filth and lies (reference to mailers from Lewis campaign). SC law requires that every piece of political mail carry a disclaimer showing who paid for it. Look at the disclaimer on this mailing...it took me an hour to find it. This is cowardice. The larger mailer also clearly displays my home address, putting my wife Cathy in danger as well as me.
Will Lewis has now demanded one on one debates with me. I have participated in seven debates already, and I will not give him the opportunity or forum to spread more of his lies and filth. I have taken the high road in this campaign and it is hard to run against four opponents. But now that the field has been whittled to one, I am releasing Will Lewis' personnel file that was FOIA requested by my campaign and others.
In 2011 Will Lewis was charged with Conduct Unbecoming a Deputy for being untruthful during an internal investigation into yet more deception, and for kissing a female Deputy. He LIED and EMBARRASSED this Deputy in front of a suspect who was under arrest, and she rightfully complained. Lewis would have been fired, had he not quit abruptly and without notice while on shift. The details of this internal investigation are available for public review as well as video of his interviews, at https://goo.gt/bdvtd9.
He is not eligible to be rehired due to the SUSTAINED charge above and a Conduct Unbecoming an Officer charge is ammunition for defense attorneys; entire law enforcement cases have been thrown out because an arresting officer had this charge in his or her file.
Will Lewis runs a legal consulting business that aids defense lawyers in deconstructing law enforcement's cases, cases such as murder, DUI, and rape. This means he is directly involved with putting criminals back on our streets, and it puts him on the opposing side of the Sheriff's Office and area law enforcement. His professional profile can be found on his Linkedln page.
His excessively funded campaign has been primarily financed by the defense attorneys that contract his services as described above. The Defense Bar in Greenville has pledged thousands of dollars and votes to "buying a sheriff." This funding is easily verifiable by any member of the public that wishes to look at his campaign disclosure forms through the Ethics Commission website.
Will Lewis has never held a supervisory role at the Sheriff's Office. He has proven he will compromise the safety of the public to indulge his temper, and I ask that residents be mindful of his past when he speaks. He does not have the leadership experience or the ethics to serve the largest county population in the state of South Carolina.
Out of respect for this Office, its Deputies and staff, and every resident of Greenville County, I not only decline a debate with Will Lewis, I will also not acknowledge him as a qualified candidate.
I am a man of the law and a man of God, and I have both served and protected this county for 38 straight years. I am sharing this information with voters because protecting them is the reason for my journey on this earth. As a law enforcement officer, I rely on facts to make my decisions every day, and I believe voters de-serve the facts about Will Lewis, so they can do the same.
Greenville is my home, and keeping it safe is my priority every hour of every day.
Under my leadership, we will continue to advance this office to meet the needs of a modern and growing Greenville, building on the successes of our past and ensuring the safety of our future."