Article Comment 

Recording: Mayor was angry with police lt. prior to breaking tie to suspend him



Ryan Poe



Now-retired Columbus Police Lt. John Pevey released a recording Wednesday that, according to him, is evidence Mayor Robert Smith voted out of spite to suspend him Feb. 22. 


The roughly 30-minute recording is of a Feb. 2 meeting, where Pevey was chewed out by Smith and now-fired Police Chief Joseph St. John. 


Smith, according to the recording, was angry that Pevey mentioned his name in a routine email report about a custody issue involving Smith''s ex-wife and their daughter. 


In a parting shot, Smith was recorded telling St. John "it''s not over with." 


Twenty days later, Smith broke a 3-3 tied vote to suspend Pevey for allegedly failing to follow police protocol when another officer totaled a squad car early New Year''s Day. 


When Pevey appealed his 20-workday suspension to the Civil Service Commission, he used the recording as the basis for his argument that Smith had not acted in "good faith." 


The commission, which did not listen to the recording, voted 2-1 to uphold the council''s decision. 


During the exchange, which can be heard in its entirety online at, Smith accused Pevey of trying to link him to an issue that he wasn''t involved in. 


"There''s no way you can make me believe there wasn''t an ulterior motive," Smith told him. "I could care less, but this is not normal." 


And when Pevey said he was sorry, Smith replied, "I bet you are." 


Pevey, who is a candidate for Lowndes County sheriff, maintained throughout the meeting that he had included Smith''s name because the incident involved a city official. 


"I was trying to cover myself," he added. 


In response, St. John criticized Pevey for "not thinking about what you do." 


"I can''t explain to you everything to do," he continued. "I can''t be with you every five minutes ... You go from not telling me stuff to putting stuff in there that''s not necessary." 


He added: "John, you don''t understand that (Smith) and I, we don''t need to be pulled into the middle of this crap that ain''t any of our business."




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Reader Comments

Article Comment brother r. commented at 7/28/2011 4:07:00 PM:

Who is Sally Sue? What she do? Why is her name being brought up in this? For the rest of you out there ,Well your just another Tom, Dick, or Harry. Now you see how the city percieves its citizens, your just another Joe Blow. If you don't believe it, just try and take something before this council board.


Article Comment bamafan commented at 7/29/2011 1:55:00 AM:

This goes to show how ignorant our so called honest mayor is, he is a crook and tries to cover up all his ill doings and used the chief to help cover it up, just goes to show that you can't trust a black man as a mayor or council member, ecspecially one that has a criminal past. this foolis ignorant, maybe the board of supervisor's should take over the county!!


Article Comment bamafan commented at 7/29/2011 1:56:00 AM:

correction to my last post they should take over the city!!!


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/29/2011 5:42:00 AM:

LMAO, you think the tires on the ole car are wobbling badly now, just give them a little more time and you're going to find yourself off in a ditch.

They just don't have the mental capacity to handle the job, or the personal integrity to do it well, but they can puff up and toss dirt in the air to try to make up for it. That's been the main shortcoming in this town for decades. Lack of integrity.

But in the end, they will fail as well.


Article Comment readaboutit commented at 7/29/2011 2:50:00 PM:

what the mayor would like is to have the whole family hired, they can "yes, sir" him and he can do as he wishes!!!!!


Article Comment my town commented at 7/29/2011 8:40:00 PM:

Glad Lt. Pevey recorded this so the public can see that the ex-chief Joe St. John doesn't back his men..........The Mayor is running this city and the ex-chief was nothing more than a puppet on a string..........Lol, now the chief is fired, Lt. Pevey is retired and Mayor Smith looks to be out the door shortly..........Karma is strong, the ex-chief got what he deserved, I'm sure Karma will be visiting Robert Smith next!!!!You are supposed put the statements and actions of all parties involved in your report, its called cover your own butt, and Robert Smith's name was bought up in the report due to his ex-wife statements. This Officer did his job like he was supposed to, nothing less, the Mayor just didn't want his name to be exposed again......Now this tape has serviced, just like the Clinkscale tape did. You really get to see a persons true colors when they don't know their being recorded or watched.


Article Comment readaboutit commented at 7/29/2011 9:14:00 PM:

No, my town comments, Joe WAS NOT a puppet on a string....THAT is why they couldn't stand his position!!!!!!!!!!!!ya'll voted that mayor think twice at election time!!!!


Article Comment raider commented at 7/29/2011 9:30:00 PM:

After listening to the tape, I believe that the lt deserved that a**-chewing. In that situation, I believe he was trying to unnessarily embarrass the mayor and it put the Chief in a bad spot as his supervisor.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/30/2011 5:16:00 AM:

Sure you do Raider. And Idi Amin was a wonderful person, right? So was Baby Doc.

I'm beginning to see where you're coming from...


Article Comment my town commented at 7/30/2011 8:58:00 AM:

The Mayor is a CROOK......... The Ex-Police Chief Joe St. John is a DRUNK......... Joe St. John running for Mayor is a JOKE......... Columbus needs to CLEAN house quick........


Article Comment my town commented at 7/30/2011 8:58:00 AM:

The Mayor is a CROOK......... The Ex-Police Chief Joe St. John is a DRUNK......... Joe St. John running for Mayor is a JOKE......... Columbus needs to CLEAN house quick........


Article Comment readaboutit commented at 7/30/2011 11:37:00 AM:

my town obviously know the mayor and his agenda...but you do not know jsj. he has tirelessly been a advocate for the city of columbus, showing genuine concern and leadership, talk to him before you berate him!


Article Comment raider commented at 7/30/2011 11:46:00 AM:

@roscoe - Idi Amin and Baby Doc was bad people but that doesn't mean they were always wrong. You need to learn how to judge right and wrong without letting your personal feelings dictate the results. You hate the mayor so, in your mind, everything he does is wrong. You need to accept the fact that even the people you hate will be right sometime and those that you love are not always right.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 7/31/2011 7:39:00 AM:

"Doesn't mean they were always wrong."

I'm thinking your history ignorance is showing itself again.

But you keep on prop'n up the Mayor and KK, we all know why. I don't hate either of them, that would require energy I'm not willing to waste on trash like them, but I do know a useless POS when I see one.

And right now I'm see'n 3 of them.


Article Comment homer commented at 7/31/2011 8:20:00 AM:

What reason would the mayor have for not wanting his name in the police report concerning his family. It was an official police report I would expect. I am sure their daily log is official. Must be some reason not to want your name mentioned with your family. What's in the closet. It is somewhat strange that the mayor must first approve a police officers report. The ex-chief was only agreeing with the mayor probably because the mayor instructed him to. Remember he served at the will of the mayor and council!!


Article Comment raider commented at 7/31/2011 1:49:00 PM:

@homer: Did you listen to the tape? The mayor was in Jackson. The people involved was his EX-wife and his adult daughter. What did he have to do with the situation for his name to be included in the OFFICIAL police report? Ansolutely nothing. That is why the mayor, the chief and assistant chief was questioning why lt P included the moyor's name in the police report. I could see if this involved the mayor's current wife or his minor child.


Article Comment galations 6:8 commented at 8/1/2011 10:26:00 AM:

Seems like "raider" is the only one on this thread that actually agrees with every second of that recording... makes one wonder if this "raider" is one of the ones that participated in that meeting... the bottom line is... the mayor had no place, no authority or even an obligation to meet with ANY officer and especially not to threaten him!! If he had a problem with how an officer wrote a report, conducted business or did his job, whether PERSONAL or PROFESSIONAL, then the correct protocol would have been to meet with the chief who is the DEPARTMENT HEAD and have the chief talk to or reprimand that officer!! The Mayor completely crossed the line calling a meeting with Lt Pevey!! And then went as far as to threaten the officer with his "attorney" and to tell him "it ain't over yet"... and when the Lt did try to apologize... the Mayor like a CHILDISH COWARD wouldn't accept it and even said "I bet u are"... what a horrible leader of this community!! No wonder our CPD is falling apart at the seams!! And then its people like u "raider" who insist on supporting and backing this poor excuse of a Mayor!!! If this community is really sick of this Mayor and City Council... and how they micromanage and run the CPD how THEY want it ran... then maybe they should keep things like this in mind when election time comes around! This town has always been full of corruption... and its getting worse by the day!! It's gone from the Mayor and CC protecting their own to now the Officers can't even do their job without being chastised!! It's time this town get cleaned up!!!


Article Comment homer commented at 8/1/2011 11:24:00 AM:

raider: The LT didn't have to embarrass the mayor as he does and extremely good job of that all by his self. What a joke!! Pat him on the back raider cause you sure won't tell it like it really is. The mayor is an embarrassment to the city over and over and over.


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