NC sheriff’s office already facing calls for change hired deputy accused of assault

By Ivey Schofield

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office hired a former Bladen County deputy who resigned last year after he was accused of beating a suspect with a flashlight following a high-speed chase.  

The sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that it had sworn in Michael Shaw as an auxiliary deputy, along with three other new employees. By Friday afternoon, a sheriff’s spokesperson told The News Reporter, Shaw no longer worked there.

A grand jury indicted Shaw in November 2021 on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury related to the chase in Bladen County the prior month. The case is still pending. 

It’s been a tumultuous month for the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. Jody Greene, who had served as sheriff since 2018, resigned on Monday at the start of a court hearing to determine whether he would be removed from office.

At the request of local district attorney Jon David, a North Carolina Superior Court judge suspended Greene on Oct. 4, days after the release of a recorded phone call from 2019 in which he called deputies “Black bastards.”  

David also accused Greene of unfairly firing a Black sergeant, trying to influence county commissioners and having a sexual relationship with a detective. 

Greene, a Republican, said he resigned so he could focus on the Nov. 8 election, in which he faces Democratic challenger Jason Soles. 

On Oct. 5, Columbus County commissioners appointed Bill Rogers, who previously worked with Greene at the N.C. State Highway Patrol, as interim sheriff. 

In sworn affidavits provided in David’s amended court petition on Oct. 21, Chief Deputy Aaron Herring also faces several allegations, including choking a child, intimidating a Democratic Party leader and encouraging the removal of an SBI liaison from the sheriff’s office. 

The SBI investigated Herring due to a complaint by Juwarn Britt, who alleged that Herring beat him in the back of a patrol car in 2015. In 2018, Herring was found not guilty on charges of simple assault and willful failure to discharge duties. 

This week, Herring helped swear in Shaw and the other new employees.

Eddie Caldwell, general counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association, told WECT that Shaw can continue to work in law enforcement because he has not been convicted of a crime. 

Michael Shaw, left, pictured with Chief Deputy Aaron Herring, was sworn in as an auxiliary deputy at the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office this week.
Photo from Columbus County Sheriff’s Office