Limestone County community leaders, organizations react to sheriff’s indictment

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - Limestone County residents said they are a tight-knit community, so the news of Sheriff Mike Blakely's indictment --- is shocking.

Thursday, Blakely was indicted on 13 theft and ethics charges. He was arrested at his own jail and bonded out within minutes.

But community members said that doesn't change the fact that some people are disappointed in him.

Community leaders said Blakely has made a huge mark on Limestone County's history.

"It casts a bad, a negative shadow on our community."

That's what one community leader has to say about the recent indictment of his sheriff.

Wilbert Woodruff, President of the Limestone County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the organization has worked with Blakely on several civil rights issues over the years.

Blakely's team of attorneys say they plan to challenge the constitutionality of the Alabama Ethics Act, claiming virtually anything you do under the act is illegal.

Woodruff said the NAACP is no stranger to standing up for constitutional rights.

"The NAACP typically will go to bat for you," he explained.  "At least we will investigate the case and see if we can help if your constitutional rights have been violated."

But if Blakely is found guilty, Woodruff said the reputation of the entire county government is in question.

"If any of the indictments are found to be true, it just makes our whole county government look bad," Woodruff said. "You'll have to think back on some of the things that have been done in the past. Whether they were right on, even keel or not."

The Limestone County NAACP said county residents have had a lot of faith in Blakely over nearly 4 decades.

"We have a certain confidence in him," said Woodruff. "As citizens of this county, this state and country, we have a certain expectation of all the people that we vote into office to help us better run this county, state, and country."

So the idea of any charge being brought against the sheriff is disheartening.

The Limestone County NAACP said if Blakely is found guilty of any of the charges against him, he should be held to the same standard as every other citizen in Limestone County.

The organization said no one is above the law.

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