Critics who showed up in Pine Lawn Tuesday took aim - not only at Caldwell - but accused the Board of Aldermen of being puppets of the mayor.
“Everyone that sits back silently as bystanders are just as guilty as the mayor when he took money and bribes on the side,” said Roslyn Brown, a Pine Lawn resident. “They are just as corrupt.”
About two dozen protesters took their message to city hall. They accused Mayor Sylvester Caldwell of using the police department and city to intimidate and attack anyone Caldwell considers an enemy.
Caldwell’s critics say the federal indictment sheds light on the alleged “dirty dealings” Caldwell has been involved with. They questioned why Pine Lawn, a city of 3,000, with a poverty rate soaring above the national average, should have an indicted mayor earning $60,000 a year, driving a city-issued car and collecting other perks.
“I don't think he should continue to collect his salary,” said Minnie Chairse. “I think someone else should come in and sit in that seat until election time come around.”
But the mayor has his supporters too.
“He's been accused of something, not convicted and he's a good mayor,” said Marjorie Simms, a resident of Pine Lawn since 1968.
News 4 asked to speak with Mayor Caldwell. A spokesperson declined to go on camera but said the city stands by previous statements, saying Caldwell, at this point, only stands accused of a crime.