Sabrina Belcher was a community volunteer turned Democratic candidate for mayor in Sumter, South Carolina, when, according to police, her campaign tactics turned criminal when she staged her own kidnapping for votes.
Belcher, 29, was the first Black woman to run for mayor of Sumter, and she was apparently determined to win the votes to make it possible. Sumter Police said Belcher teamed up with alleged accomplice Christopher Eaddy to stage a kidnapping, which she streamed on Facebook Live. She reported the attack to police, leading to her charges.
Belcher was not the only candidate in the Sumter, South Carolina mayor race who had faced allegations.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sabrina Belcher Wanted to Become the First Black Female Mayor of Sumter & Had a GoFundMe That Earned $25
Sabrina Belcher had a goal of becoming the first Black female mayor of Sumter, South Carolina. According to her Facebook campaign page, Belcher4Mayor2020, she was the first Black female to ever run for the post. According to Census.gov, Sumter has a population that is 47.9 percent Black.
A GoFundMe was started to raise money for Belcher’s political campaign. It had only $25 from one anonymous donor.
“1st black female candidate for mayor of Sumter South Carolina just needs a little financial support,” the page said.
The fundraiser had a goal of $10,000.
2.Sumter Police Said Belcher Staged a Kidnapping to Earn Sympathy & Votes in the Mayor Race
Sabrina Belcher was charged for allegedly reporting a kidnapping and beating that she staged herself to earn sympathy, publicity and votes, according to Sumter Police Department.
Belcher admitted to police she planned the ruse, officers said in a statement. It was also recorded and posted on Facebook Live. Her alleged associate, Christopher James Eaddy, 34, was also charged.
On August 18, 2020, at about 11:30 p.m., Belcher reported to police she was assaulted and kidnapped by a person she did not recognize in an attempted robbery, police said. She was injured and her vehicle windows were knocked out. She was taken to a hospital for treatment and later released. Belcher later provided a fake name of her attacker, police said. They later determined she was in contact with Eaddy, and that the two planned the ruse for several days, according to police.
“This was simply an effort to create disorder and discontent in our community for personal gain,” Chief Russell Roark said. “As a result, a valuable number of resources, including personnel, manhours of the police department as well as local medical professionals, were wasted based on false information.”
The duo also attempted to discredit a fellow mayoral candidate in the recording, and had ongoing plans to smear other candidates leading up to the election, police said. Police did not release details on how Belcher tried to discredit another candidate, or what her future plans were.
She was charged with filing a false police report of a felony and conspiracy. Eaddy was charged with conspiracy. They were both booked Wednesday at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center, police said.
3. Sabrina Belcher Served as a Volunteer in Her Community of Sumter, South Carolina
Sabrina Belcher was a volunteer who served her community of Sumter, South Carolina, according to The Post and Courier and her campaign announcement. Her volunteer service included serving with the fire department, Salvation Army and pregnancy center.
“Sabrina Belcher 29, is a local resident of Sumter sc and is a decorated community Activist and local volunteer,” her campaign announcement said. “Belcher was the creator of the petitions in hopes that precious Neveah Adams would receive an amber alert and be brought home safely. She has volunteered locally at the Diamonds teen pregnancy prevention center, the United way of Sumter, the south Hope center, and the Salvation Army boys and girls club since the tender age of 13. She has been a volunteer firefighter for Sumter county. Belcher has many plans to enhance the city by focusing mainly on the community and the needs there in.”
Her campaign goals included a police presence during school bus hours to protect children, turning blighted and abandoned properties into city-funded after-school programs, and adding walking bridges over the city’s highways in a plan called Easy Walkers.
4. Sabrina Belcher Was Not the Only One in the 2020 Mayor Race Who Faced Allegations
Another candidate for mayor, Archie Parnell, was one of the Democratic candidates for mayor facing off against Sabrina Belcher. He ran for Congress 2018 in the northern part of South Carolina when information revealed he had decades-old allegations that accused him of beating his ex-wife. After losing the Congressional race, he decided to make a political comeback and run for mayor of Sumter, according to The Post and Courier.
After the allegations were revealed, most of his staff quit the 2018 race and high-profile allies rescinded their endorsements. The Post and Courier uncovered the assault allegations in his 1973 divorce records, which he had not revealed to them. Parnell opted to stay in the race, insisting he was a changed man.
The incumbent, Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen, decided not to seek reelection after 20 years in office. He was the city’s longest-serving mayor. Other candidates included real estate business owner Foxy Rae Campbell and City Council members Calvin Hastie and David Merchant.
5. Sabrina Belcher’s Campaign Rallies Included Drives for Children in Need
Sabrina Belcher spearheaded several community events during her mayoral campaign, including events to support children in need and local homeless people.
“In honot of the late Shemika Renne Oliver we are going to hold a donation drive for the three children in need on August 15th at Dj Als Music Hut will be serving free food. But please bring anything you can for the children. All donations will be presented to the family the following day,” the campaign wrote on Facebook August 9.
The event included a toy and clothing drive for the woman’s children and a stop the violence rally.
Another event, scheduled for June 20, 2020, was geared toward feeding those struggling with homelessness and poverty.
“Belcher is simply the best woman for the job stay tuned for upcoming rallies,” her campaign page said.