This is the first of two stories detailing court records for candidates for Savannah City Council in 2023. Here is a link to the second.

Editor’s note, Nov. 3, 2023: A previous version of this article misreported two traffic charges, two financial accusations and one misdemeanor alcohol offense as belonging to former Alderman Tony Thomas. At least three of those belonged to another Tony Thomas who also worked at the city of Savannah when Alderman Thomas did. The Current sought comment from former Alderman Thomas prior to the article publishing to clear up any confusion, but he did not return messages.

This story incorrectly characterized candidate Jason Combs’ job history. It has been corrected.

Obstructing police. Drunk driving. Speeding, driving without a license, driving on an expired license, and falsifying a vehicle identification number. Leaving infant children unsupervised in a room with a loaded, unsecured firearm. Illegal pyramid schemes. Chronic check-bouncing. 

These are just some of the criminal charges lodged against some candidates running for a seat on the nine-member Savannah City Council in next week’s elections that have been drawn from hundreds of court records examined by The Current

The offenses found in the public record span nearly 30 years, from 1995 to as recently as May. Most have been resolved, either with convictions, plea deals, fines, or dismissal. Some, however, are still pending.

The candidates with police records have rarely — if at all — raised these issues on the campaign trail. In the atmosphere of negative campaigning, however, opponents have circulated alleged facts about some of the candidates. That’s why The Current set out to research which allegations were true and the circumstances surrounding them.

The picture isn’t necessarily complete. Candidates not listed here may have had legal troubles in other jurisdictions. Details of cases may be absent because sentences have been vacated under Georgia’s First Offender Act. Furthermore, few paper court records have been digitized in Chatham County court prior to 2004, according to the clerk’s office, unless specifically requested. 

Still, what’s available in the public record of Chatham County court proceedings speaks to the vastly different life experiences of candidates standing for office next week, and how their own interactions with the police, the legal system and finances could influence their decisions as public servants.

In many cases, we found that candidates paid fines and restitution and turned a chapter on past lives. In others we found ongoing patterns of questionable behavior and charges that have yet to be decided. 

The Current is dividing our findings in two stories. Our reporters sought comments from the candidates with serious infractions described here so that voters will have the most comprehensive information to take to the polls. 

Ultimately voters will decide on who is best to represent them and to oversee the public purse, ensure public safety and uphold the rule of law. Early voting is underway and ends on Nov. 3. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. 


This seat will be vacated by Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter as she challenges Savannah’s incumbent mayor, Van Johnson. Candidates vying to fill the seat up for grabs are: 

Carolyn Hodges Bell

Bell is the former Post 1 At-Large alderwoman who lost by 264 votes to now-Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter in 2019. Bell led efforts to start The Front Porch program to care for neglected children, her website states. 

Between May 3, 1995, and June 4, 2003, Bell was cited for three minor traffic offenses including failure to wear a seatbelt and not displaying license decal. No other significant court history was found. 

Jason Leslie Combs

Jason Combs, candidate for Post 1 Alderman
Jason Combs, candidate for Post 1 Alderman Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Combs is a longtime resident of the Thomas Square neighborhood in the Historic District. He has degrees in city planning and urban design from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

On June 18, 2015, Savannah police charged Combs with misdemeanor obstruction, felony obstruction, misdemeanor public drunkenness, misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and felony battery.

The incident or incidents that gave rise to the charges aren’t spelled out in court records.  

In 2001, and between 2010 and 2022, Combs was accused of three minor traffic offenses and violating two Savannah ordinances, the nature of which couldn’t be determined from court filings. The charges involving Savannah ordinances were dismissed, and Combs acknowledged guilt in the traffic-related offenses.

On June 13, 2022, an Airbnb owner, Jeremy Cade Floyd, filed a temporary protective order against Combs for stalking. Floyd alleged that Combs was looking through his rental unit windows and through his mail, and accosting cleaners at the unit. According to Floyd, Combs, who is also a landlord, is accusing Floyd of operating an illegal short term rental unit.

Replying to a request for comment, Combs told The Current that the 2015 charges arose from a disagreement about whether there was probable cause to arrest him. The charges were dropped, and he agreed to three years of probation, he said.

The other charges and complaints pertained to differences about the city’s policies on short-term rental agreements, a policy that Combs has focused on and improved, he said.

Combs said that his personal experience with the Savannah police and judicial system makes him better qualified to be a city council member. 

“I don’t think I’ve had a ‘bad’ experience with law enforcement that colors my perceptions in any negative way. I think we very simply need to hire the number of officers required for a city of our size,” he said. “Finding the money for that is going to be a nuts-and-bolts issue of taking a deep dive into the city’s budget, which I think I have the right kind of mind for.”

Roshida Edwards

Edwards grew up in Savannah and owns a wedding and event venue on the city’s west side. She graduated from Groves High School and is the daughter of Fairlawn Baptist Church pastor Harold Edwards, Sr.

Roshida Edwards, candidate for city council Post 1 at-large seat in Savannah. Credit:

Between 2001 and 2017, Edwards was cited 10 times for traffic violations. Most were either for having no proof of insurance or not wearing a seat belt. The insurance-related charges were dismissed; Edwards acknowledged guilt for the seat belt-related charges.

In a Dec. 18, 2009, case, Edwards failed to appear in court on a traffic-related charge, and it was transferred to state court for handling. It isn’t evident from court filings how the case was resolved.

On Sept. 24, 2016, a person named Carmen Cooper filed a civil complaint, known as a “Good Behavior Bond,” against Edwards, accusing her of threatening to kill her. The bond is defined by Chatham County as “an application to keep the peace.” It puts a person on notice to stop alleged threatening behavior and sets an automatic court date to go before a judge to figure out what happened. If the target of the bond agrees to its terms, the bond will expire and no court action happens. Cooper’s expired in December 2016. 

Edwards declined to comment on the previous traffic violations, saying they were too far in the past to recall. She told The Current about an encounter with the Savannah police that she found troubling and which did not lead to any arrests or charges. In December 2022, police entered and searched the Vintage Special Event Center without her consent, despite the fact that she is the business owner, and without the consent of the building owner. This action was based on a suspicion of alcohol on the premises, she said. 

“This breach of privacy and the ensuing unauthorized search prompted the request for bodycam footage and the filing of an official complaint. To date, the department and city maintain that no wrongdoing occurred, even though the received footage did not align with department policy,” Edwards said in an emailed response to The Current.

Despite this experience, Edwards says she is an outspoken advocate for “a fully staffed police department with compassionate, well-trained and fairly compensated officers.” She has been endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association of Georgia.

Tony Thomas

A former alderman who served on the city council for 20 years before losing his reelection bid four years ago, Thomas joins Carol Bell, Jason Combs, Roshida Edwards, Curtis Singleton, Marc Anthony Smith, and Clinton Young in vying for the council seat. 

Thomas’ drunkenness at the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah has been reported. So have allegations of sexual abuse and theft at the Parker’s near Godley Station. Court records show further financial issues.

On Aug. 8, 2002, Thomas was accused of felony deposit account fraud. The charge was dismissed after he paid restitution. 

Thomas has been the object of civil complaints from St. Joseph’s/Candler, Levy Jewelry, swimming pool company Pride Pools and debt collectors for unpaid — or not fully paid — invoices.

One such filing in 2021 said Thomas owed over $700 from payments accrued on a Best Buy credit card.

Also, Thomas was sued in 2018 over unpaid rent at his Stuff Store in the Savannah Mall and for his shop Cool Beans at the Windsor Forest Shopping Center. And in 2022, a campaign consultant alleged Thomas owed him approximately $20,000 in consulting fees. A judge ruled in favor of the consultant on April 6, 2023, due to Thomas not responding to the lawsuit.

Thomas didn’t reply to a request from The Current for comment before publication. But at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters for Coastal Georgia last month, candidates for the Post 1 seat were asked: “Can you describe a situation in your public or private life where you faced a moral or ethical dilemma? How did you handle it? What did you learn from that experience?” Replied Thomas, in part:

“I faced crises, and I faced problems of my own. You know, one of the problems that I faced is that you know, on St. Patrick’s Day, I got a little over-inebriated at one of the parades. the brigade, at one of the parades I was enjoying with all the other Irishmen. You would have thought with the media that I was the only person in town that was drinking that day. But anyway, I accept my responsibility for that. And I will tell you, I’m four years alcohol-free. I haven’t touched a drop of wine, beer or liquor or anything. I feel much better, and you know, I can make it through that crowd next year. ‘Yea though I walk through the valley . . .’”

Curtis Antonio Singleton

Singleton is a longtime political analyst and current board president of the Mediation Center of Coastal Georgia..

Singleton’s court history is brief. Records show that on June 19, 2018, a “Curtis A. Singleton” was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign and received a warning. A year later, an officer cited a “Curtis A. Singleton” for failing to yield the right of way. 

Marc Anthony Smith

Smith, a Navy veteran, former Savannah police officer and school resource officer, declared his intent to run for the seat in March 2023. 

Smith’s court record shows up not as a defendant, but as the officer charging others with offenses. He worked under the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department between 2005 and 2010, his campaign website states. 

Clinton Young

Young, a Savannah Technical College graduate who grew up in the city, worked for Gulfstream and the vending machine company, Young American Vendors. In 2022, he ran for the state senate seat now occupied by Derek Mallow. 

Young’s court history spans 1993 to 2006, almost entirely of traffic offenses. Around 18 citations were marked in case records as guilty for minor offenses such as speeding, lack of proof of insurance and driving without a license. Around 10 cited offenses were marked as dismissed or not guilty, including a dismissed warrant in 2000 from a rental company regarding a television. Young said he paid in full for the rental TV.

Young said his experience working in a halfway house between 1990 and 1992 shaped some of his thoughts about public safety. Young said he administered drug and alcohol tests to halfway house tenants, most of which were federal inmates returning from prison and jailed people in a county program. It was based out of a hotel and called the Chatham County Treatment Center, he said.

“Sometimes the problem is your environment,” Young said, of the people he saw at the halfway house. “I’ve seen a lot of folks who I knew, who I went to school with, who I even worked with. Doing a job like that in your hometown … it was a wakeup call.” 

Young said he believes police in Savannah need to be supported with more funding and compassion. He said the veterans coming home to the city after military deployment need to see that compassion as well. 


Alicia Miller Blakely (incumbent)

Alicia Miller Blakely, Post 2 Alderwoman
Alicia Miller Blakely, Post 2 Alderwoman Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Blakely was born in Philadelphia but raised in Savannah and graduated from Savannah State University. She served in the U.S. Army and became an activist raising awareness about city gun violence. In 2019, she was elected as the first Black woman to serve in the Post 2, At-Large seat.

In three instances between 1994 and 2004, Blakely was accused of deposit account fraud by representatives from Kroger, Publix and Walmart. The alleged fraud had to do with insufficient funds to pay for products. All three cases were marked as guilty and stated that Blakely paid restitution. 

In the realm of traffic offenses, Blakely was cited for no proof of insurance in 1998, driving too fast for conditions in 2004, failure to stop at a stop sign in 2008, and no license while driving in 2011. The cases state “guilty” for each except for the failure to stop at a stop sign, which a prosecutor dismissed against Blakely.  

Savannah code officials cited Blakely twice for failing to pay her parking tickets. The cases were marked as closed with no detail on resolutions. 

“I have no comment. I’m not going to even entertain this kind of conversation,” Blakely said, when reached by The Current. 

Patrick Rossiter

No offenses came up in a search for Rossiter, except for a February 28, 2007 charge for speeding for “Patrick C. Rossiter, Jr.” The citation was dismissed. 


Bernetta Bryant Lanier (incumbent)

Bernetta Bryant Lanier, District 1 Alderwoman
Bernetta Bryant Lanier, District 1 Alderwoman Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

First elected to the city council’s District 1 seat in 2019, Lanier is running for reelection unopposed.

Twice in 1995, on Feb. 6 and Feb. 28, Bernetta Anderson, the alderwoman’s previous surname, was charged with “deposit account fraud,” according to Chatham County court records. No court documents were attached to the case files, and both charges were dismissed.

Some two years later, on May 2, 1997, Anderson was charged with involvement in a pyramid scheme, a felony. There are no documents attached to the case file, and the court later dismissed the case, according to a notation on the case file.

A year later, Anderson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gambling charge for her participation in an illegal pyramid scheme, according to news reports. She was fined $500 and given suspended probation.

Anderson said she didn’t think the pyramid scheme was illegal, since attorneys, school officials and police officers were involved in it, she told The Savannah Morning News. “I bought into the concept that African American people can come together and give gifts to each other, believing in this concept of self-determination,” she said. “Of course, it turned out to be a misstep.”

On Jan. 19, 1999, Anderson was charged with “deposit account fraud,” involving a transaction with Kroger. The case was dismissed after she paid restitution.

Between 1996 and 2002, Anderson was ticketed four times for failing to have proof of insurance while driving. The judge dismissed the citations for reasons that weren’t specified in court documents. Also, she was ticketed twice for speeding and once for not having a license decal. She pleaded guilty to both violations.

Lanier did not respond to requests for comment.


Linda Wilder Bryan (incumbent)

Wilder Bryan served as a community activist and became vocal in issues of Savannah crime and policing after the death of her son in a 2015 fatal armed robbery. Wilder Bryan was elected to District 3 alderwoman in 2019, defeating a longtime incumbent. 

A search for court records for Alderwoman Wilder Bryan revealed no criminal charges. 

Clinton Cowart

Cowart, son of NASCAR driver Delma Cowart and native Savannahian, works as a consultant and computer information technology expert. 

A court search for Clinton D. Cowart II revealed a speeding citation in 1999 and a seat belt citation in 2003. Both marked as guilty.  

Todd Rhodes

Todd A. Rhodes, candidate for District 3
Todd A. Rhodes, candidate for District 3 Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

A former candidate for Savannah-Chatham County school board chairman, Rhodes, together with Tammy Stone and Clinton Cowart, are challenging incumbent Linda Wilder Bryan for the District 3 council seat.

On July 24, 2006, Savannah police charged Rhodes with two traffic offenses — following too closely and hit-and-run. Three years later, Rhodes took a plea deal for the first charge and agreed to pay a $100 fine.

The second charge — hit-and-run —  was dropped. 

While those charges were pending, Rhodes was charged on Oct. 30, 2008, with two more traffic offenses — improper turn and driving on a suspended license. He took a negotiated plea for the suspended license charge, agreeing to probation and paying $200 in fines. The improper turn charge was dismissed.

On April 10, 2013, a Chatham County grand jury indicted Rhodes on felony counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor, cruelty to children in the second degree, and reckless conduct.

The charges stem from an incident in which Rhodes left Jeremiah Rhodes, then under the age of three, “unsupervised in a room containing a loaded and unsecured firearm accessible to said child and his four-year-old brother resulting in said child receiving a gunshot wound,” the indictment reads.

On June 11, 2013, then-assistant district attorney (now district attorney) Shalena Cook Jones asked the county court to move the “reckless conduct” charge to state court — effectively making the charge a misdemeanor — and a judge approved it. The other two charges were dismissed.

In state court, Rhodes took an Alford plea on the “reckless conduct” charge, meaning he accepted the consequences of a guilty plea while maintaining his innocence. On March 14, 2014, Rhodes was sentenced to a year of probation, during which he agreed not to keep firearms and not commit crimes, and to allow searches. Rhodes qualified for the state’s First Offender Act.

Between  October 2015, and March 2016, Rhodes was charged twice with misdemeanor simple battery  In one of the incidents, he was charged with cruelty to children in the third degree, which Georgia law defines as allowing a child to witness family violence battery. Both cases were put on the “domestic violence docket” and were later dismissed.

Replying to a request for comment, Rhodes recounted how he has turned his life around. He became a father at 18 and he and his wife, his high school sweetheart, have been married for 15 years and have 10 children.

Rhodes is a small-business owner and a coach for Chatham County public schools. He considers himself a role model for his sons and for Savannah’s youth, and that his life experience makes him more relatable to voters and a better advocate for them.

“The past is the past,” he said about his court record. “I’m thankful for learning from mistakes and blessed to be able to relate and help others.”

He said that public safety is his No. 1 priority as a candidate, adding that he has been endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association of Southern States and is intent on finding ways to help Savannah Police Department fill its nearly 150 vacancies.

Tammy D. Stone

Stone, a 32-year owner of Xscape Beauty Salon and community figure, announced her run for District 3 on April 12. 

Only one traffic offense came up in a court records search for Stone. She was cited for an improper turn in a Sept. 4, 2012, court filing. The record states Stone failed to appear but does not state the outcome of the case. 


Nick Palumbo (incumbent)

Palumbo, a New Orleans native and former U.S Foreign Service official, moved to Savannah and was elected District 4 alderman in 2019.

A search for court records for Alderman Palumbo revealed no criminal charges. 

Calum Crampton

Calum Crampton, candidate for District 4
Calum Crampton, candidate for District 4 Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Crampton has lived in Savannah since 1991 and has been vocal on issues of property taxes, the city’s 311 line and decreasing the city’s carbon footprint, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Crampton was charged on Jan. 7, 1997, with “simple battery” under circumstances that couldn’t be established because documents related to the case weren’t online. The case was dismissed. 

On Jan. 27, 2009, a grand jury indicted Crampton  on charges of felony forgery in the first degree and “theft by deception.” The indictment stated that Crampton impersonated the victim, Michael Shannon, in order to obtain car parts.

Prior to the indictment, Crampton and Shannon had disputes, some of which played out in the local courts. Shannon filed a non-criminal complaint on Sept. 15, 2008, alleging:

“The Defendant (Crampton) Is Complainant’s (Shannon’s) Ex-Employee. The Defendant Has Been Told To Stay Away From The Complainant. The Defendant Continues To Harass The Complainant By Coming To His Places Of Business And His Home With A Bull Horn Disturbing The Peace And Obstructing Traffic And Stalking The Complainant.”

This complaint was dismissed by a prosecutor. 

In August 2008, Crampton filed a claim in magistrate court accusing Shannon of owing him money for work Crampton did as his employee. “I am suing for salary owed,” Crampton wrote in the claim, “Mr. Shannon would often not show up for work which left me to be the only person working.” 

A prosecutor dismissed the 2009 felony theft accusations on Sept. 8, 2010, because the victim, Shannon, died. 

Between Sept. 23, 1995, and May 15, 2023, Crampton was charged with 17 traffic violations, including speeding, driving without a license, driving on an expired license, not using a seat belt, failure to register his car, and falsifying his vehicle identification number (VIN).

He pleaded guilty five times for speeding or driving too fast for conditions and three times for not wearing a seatbelt. Three of the charges — driving without a revalidation decal on his license plate, falsifying his VIN, and driving on an expired license — are pending .

On May 5, 2021, Crampton was charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. The charges were dismissed on Sept. 5, 2023, after the statute of limitations for prosecuting the case expired.

Crampton has been cited twice for dog-related offenses. On Dec. 26, 2002, and Jan. 14, 2003, authorities cited him for “dogs running at large.” In both instances, they issued Crampton warnings.

More recently, on April 23, 2022, Crampton was cited for four counts of dogs unregistered and unvaccinated for rabies and four counts of dogs running at large. Five counts were dismissed and three counts he was found guilty of (dogs running at large). He was cited at least $100 for each of the three dogs. 

On Feb. 13, 2023, a neighbor filed a non-criminal complaint against Crampton, accusing him of harassing them as they walked their dog; looking into their cars; “trespassing on property; and “threats of stalking and harassment.” The time allowed for the accuser to pursue their complaint further expired on March 27.

Crampton did not respond to requests from The Current to comment.

Sara Lucia A. Jahannes

Jahannes, a Savannah Country Day graduate and former Latina beauty queen, has spent years as a youth volunteer at the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club and a volunteer at Savannah’s domestic abuse shelter. 

On Sept. 15, 2009, Jahannes was accused of battery by Cassidy Hodges, in a non-criminal court filing and Savannah police report. Jahannes was waiting at Hodges’ house when Hodges returned from work, Jahannes allegedly started fighting her after being asked to leave, according to the report. The two had “had problems in the past,” the report said.

Sara Jahannes Credit: Facebook

Six weeks later, the accusation went to a pre-warrant hearing. Citing no probable cause, the judge dismissed Hodges’ allegation.

Between 2010 and 2013, Jahannes — referred to in court documents as “Lucia Jahannes” and “Sara Lucie Jahannes” —  was cited for four minor traffic violations – speeding, driving with no license,  (one incident – pleaded guilty) and driving with no license and no plates (one incident – dismissed). She pleaded guilty in an “obedience to traffic control device” charge in Jan. 2019. 

 Jahannes said that she had forgotten about her speeding tickets until The Current reminded her. They were likely due to her speeding to get to youth events, she said, although these days, as a mother herself, she says she “drives like a grandmother.” 

“I am from a family of Catholics who always 100% takes the side of the police,” she said. “But Savannah, like all of America, is suffering from a strained relationship between police officers and people in our neighborhoods, especially people of color. My great grandfather was killed by a police officer. We need to heal. We need to repair those relationships. I encourage police officers to go into the classrooms and help children see that you are a safe person, that you are there to protect and serve everyone.”


Estella Erika Edwards Shabazz (incumbent)

Shabazz’s court record shows a speeding citation in October 1997, which is marked as guilty.  

Robert George Bryant

Robert George Bryant, candidate for District 5
Robert George Bryant, candidate for council District 5 Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Bryant is taking on the incumbent District 5 alderwoman and mayor pro-tem, Estella Shabazz. 

Robert Bryant is a native Savannahian, graduate of Windsor Forest High School, and has a doctorate in adult education from Georgia Southern University. He unsuccessfully ran for the Public Service Commission in 2020 before turning his sights to city council district 5.

On Dec. 29, 2019, a Savannah police officer arrested Bryant on charges of driving under the influence, driving under the influence exceeding the blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams allowed under Georgia law, and failure to maintain lane. He was formally indicted by a grand jury more than two years later, on April 21, 2021 by the Chatham County district attorney.

Bryant retained Francys Johnson, notable Statesboro civil rights lawyer and former president of the Georgia NAACP, as his attorney. Bryant pleaded guilty to a lesser, misdemeanor reckless driving charge on Aug. 23, 2023. The other charges were  dismissed. 

As part of the plea, Bryant was sentenced to 12 months of probation, one day in jail, a $1,000 fine, and 120 hours of community service. Court documents do not show whether he has served the jail time, performed the community service, or paid the fine. He is still under probation. 

On March 3, 2021, Bryant was cited for speeding. The charge was later dismissed. Earlier this month, on Oct. 4, he was again cited for speeding. The case remains open.

Bryant did not respond to requests from The Current to comment.


Kurtis Purtee (incumbent)

Purtee serves as a captain at Georgia Southern University’s police department and was elected as District 6 alderman in 2019.

A search for court records for Purtee revealed no criminal charges.  

Charles “Chase” DeCarlo

DeCarlo, Michael McCann and Lisa Jackson-Lockhart are challenging incumbent Kurtis Purtee for the District 6 seat.

At around 3 a.m. on Apr. 22, 2016, DeCarlo was charged with driving under the influence and driving without proper tags in Thunderbolt.  DeCarlo refused a Breathalyzer test, saying that his high blood sugar would taint the test, according to a court transcript.

DeCarlo “was playing with his phone trying to avoid eye contact with me, trying to avoid being able to turn his head to be able to speak directly face to face with me,” the officer later testified, according to a hearing transcript. The officer said he understood DeCarlo’s behavior as an attempt to hide the smell of alcohol. Although he refused a Breathalyzer test, he failed the field sobriety test.

Chase DeCarlo, candidate for district 6 alderman in Savannah. Credit:

DeCarlo’s attorney, Cris Schneider, disputed the officer’s testimony and questioned the lack of detail in the officer’s initial report. On Aug. 30, 2017, DeCarlo reached a plea deal with county prosecutors, under which they would not prosecute the DUI charge and he would plead guilty to having an expired tag and pay a $100 fine.

On March 4, 2016, a man named John Perry filed a non-criminal complaint in court alleging that DeCarlo was taking photos of him without his permission and stalking him. Perry also claimed that DeCarlo told him that he was surveilling him. The time allowed for the accuser to pursue their complaint further expired a month later.

DeCarlo told The Current that he suffers from Type 1 Diabetes and refused to take an alcohol test when pulled over because he knew his blood sugar was out of range. “I simply asked to wait until it was corrected, and he arrested me for a refusal. That charge was dismissed quickly after it was posted but unfortunately, the arrest which should be removed, still seems to come up,” he said. 

DeCarlo said his views on public safety are informed in part by the fact that his younger brother is serving a 15-year sentence in South Carolina, a stiff sentence due to the state’s mandatory minimum for being young and foolish. “He’s trying to get his life together, DeCarlo said. Everyone loves a comeback story. But we have too many people in jail.”

“No one wants a police state,” he said. “I want to make as many people as rich as possible as fast as possible. I want to help small businesses get better resources to grow and develop as quickly as possible. That means economic development for the south side. That is what makes Savannah safe. I want to make sure people have as many resources as possible.“  

Lisa Jackson Lockhart

A LinkedIn account for Lockhart lists her as working at Savannah-Chatham County Public School System as a school counselor.

On March 4, 2019, a Savannah Police officer cited Lockhart for speeding in a school zone — driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, the citation said. The case is marked as closed and guilty. 

Michael “Mike” McCann

McCann works as a youth pastor at White Bluff Methodist Church and announced his run to challenge Purtee in February. 

On June 17, a Georgia State Trooper cited McCann for talking on his cell phone while driving, a misdemeanor. The case is still open in Chatham County Recorders Court.  

Editor’s note: This story incorrectly characterized candidate Jason Combs’ job history. It has been corrected.

Type of Story: Investigative

In-depth examination of a single subject requiring extensive research and resources.

Jake Shore covers public safety and the courts system in Savannah and Coastal Georgia. He is also a Report for America corps member. Email him at Prior to joining The Current,...

Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...

Margaret Coker is editor-in-chief of The Current GA, based in Coastal Georgia. She started her two-decade career in journalism at Cox Newspapers before going to work at The Wall Street Journal and The...