Waynesville voters oust mayor

Nine months after accusing police of racially profiling motorists and members of his own family, Sanders was removed from the village council when about 59 percent, or 691 residents, voted Tuesday to not retain the mayor. About 40 percent, or 473 residents, voted to keep Sanders as mayor, according to unofficial results from the Warren County Board of Elections.

Ken Harris, the resident who led the recall effort to remove Sanders, said he was satisfied.

"We got what we (were) looking for," Harris said. "He's done."

Sanders' charges came in February after three teens claimed they were stopped by village police and ordered out of their car at gunpoint because of their race. They were never cited or arrested.

Sanders has apologized twice for being rash in approaching the media, but after the Election Day results came in, he said he still believes he did the right thing.

"I'd rather stand up for the right and be on the Lord's side than to stand up with 10,000 and be wrong," he said.

Vice Mayor Sandra Stemple now takes Sanders place, leaving a seat on the village council open for an appointment. A Waynesville charter amendment that passed Tuesday calls for unsuccessful candidates for village council from a previous election to be given first consideration for a council appointment. Other village council members will choose.

A year ago, Waynesville residents re-elected Sanders as their mayor. He beat Stemple with about 60 percent or 444 votes. Stemple received 289 votes.

Stemple, who said she voted to remove the mayor, said she wants to reunite the council.

"I feel bad for Charles," she said about midnight. "I feel really bad. But, on the other hand, he brought it on himself."

Sanders, a Democrat, lost twice Tuesday. He also ran as a Democrat against Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Portman in the 2nd District.

In February, Sanders reacted after Waynesville officers stopped Monroe resident Saul Plaza, 19, and Middletown residents Dwenton Jackson, 19, and DeAngelo Harrington, 18, as they drove through the village. Sanders said the teen-agers were stopped only because of their race. Sanders called for village officials to fire Police Chief Allen Carter if an investigation showed that his officers acted inappropriately.

There's been a history of tense relations between Sanders and Carter. In 1995, Carter was reprimanded for using a racial epithet about Sanders, according to village records.

On May 4, a Warren County Sheriff's Department investigation concluded that Waynesville police had probable cause to stop the three teens. The report, however, questioned whether "there is a pattern of unrecorded traffic stops being made by the Waynesville Police Department."

But even after the report cleared the officers, Sanders' accusations continued to provoke a storm of protest from those who argued he had unnecessarily sullied Waynesville's reputation.

In August, the Warren County Board of Elections approved 209 of the 233 signatures that Harris submitted.

Council members Ernie Lawson and Phil Day, who have criticized the mayor's actions and demanded that he leave office, signed the petition. Stemple, Carter and his wife, Julie, also wrote their signatures on the dotted line.

Although Waynesville's charter allowed the mayor to resign within five days after a recall petition is verified, Sanders refused to give up his ceremonial role.

"I don't think that they should count on me, Charles Sanders, of going away," he said. "I'll still be around."

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