A little more than a dozen people showed up to Simpsonville City Hall Monday morning to protest. They are calling for city council to reinstate Simpsonville Police Chief Keith Grounsell.
Grounsell was suspended on Friday over claims made in an email.
7News got a copy of the e-mail. In it, a woman claims the chief filed a false report against her with the State Law Enforcement Division. The chief responded to the email saying those were serious allegations and to please provide specifics of the case, so he could turn it over to the SLED to investigate. The woman then became upset, calling the chief disrespectful, and telling him she was contacting his bosses.
The woman told 7News she didn’t have a comment to make because she feared for her family’s safety.
However, people in the community seem to be upset about the suspension.
“He’s doing an excellent job,” Simpsonville City Councilwoman Sylvia Lockaby said. “He’s brought a lot of things to the city. Let’s leave him alone let him do his job. I don’t understand what the agenda is. I think it’s personal. Not just this council, I think it goes back to the former council too.”
Early Sunday morning, Grounsell issued a statement on a petition site – change.org – thanking people for their support.
“Thank you everyone! I am humbled by all of the support and comments made on this link in such a short period of time. It took me more than twenty-five minutes to read each of them on this petition for my reinstatement. I am at a loss for words with how deeply this touches me. I love the people of this town and my family is blessed to have your support.”
“Now I need to ask a favor of everyone. I would not only like to ask for you to continue to pray for me and my family, but also for those who have been attacking us the last 3.5 years. Until they find forgiveness and peace in their hearts this city will never move on. Yes, I forgive those who are doing me harm and pray for them and their families. I want peace and for our great town to prosper working as one. Without this we will fail. Please open your heart and minds and see the bigger picture that we are weak when divided, but strong as one.”
“God, please guide our council members to do the right thing Monday, April 4, 2016, at 4pm! This can be the first step to showing a united front, forgiveness and support for honest ethical law enforcement with a 7 to 0 vote to rescind my suspension and reinstate me immediately as Chief of Police.”
An executive session of the Simpsonville City Council is being held at 4pm on Monday to discuss the suspension.
We were also told a protest was going to be held Monday morning at City Hall. By 9 a.m., our reporter on the scene said 13 people had shown up for the cause, some holding signs in support of Chief Grounsell.