SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – “I can’t help but wonder what’s being hidden. What is it that they don’t want people to know?” said Simpsonville resident Marilyn Thawley. She can’t understand what led to police chief Keith Grounsell’s resignation from the Simpsonville Police Department.
Councilman Taylor Graham made the announcement alongside fellow Grounsell supporter, Council member Sylvia Lockaby.
“It is my opinion that the mayor is trying to do political payback for people that actually contributed to her campaign,” said Lockaby.
Mayor Janice Curtis denied those claims, saying Grounsell’s resignation was necessary. She confirmed she already had the council votes to fire him from the department. Grounsell was suspended without pay back in April for what the city said was misconduct.
“We decided it was becoming one of those things that we just couldn’t fix as far as the drama and the constant uprising and everything,” said Mayor Curtis.
It’s the kind of drama David McAbee says does no good for the city.
“This mayor has made a mockery of this city,” said McAbee, who recently moved back to Simpsonville. “I came home because I wanted to come home and I’ve come home to an embarrassment.”
An embarrassment supporters say is no fault of the police chief.
“I think he has integrity. I think he is as honest as the day is long,” said Thawley. “Can we turn it around? I think it’s so divided that I would be surprised.”
Keith Grounsell wouldn’t comment, but said in his resignation letter that his decision came with a very heavy heart. Deputy Chief Steve Moore will serve as chief until a permanent successor is named. If Grounsell had been fired, instead of resigning, it’s likely he would’ve gotten a severance package. Mayor Curtis says the city attorney will determine if Grounsell is eligible for severance.