Thomas died this past April, and since his death Riley stepped in and appointed a new sheriff, 31-year-old George Cook, on June 18. Although local officials and county citizens protested the appointment in town meetings, declaring in reports that they wanted to elect their own sheriff, Riley stuck to his appointment.
The same day Riley appointed Cook, the governor's task force made its first visit to Greenetrack after being given a court order by a circuit judge, Emerson said.
However, Emerson says that when the task force arrived at Greenetrack the judge, Circuit Court Judge Eddie Hardaway, was contacted by county officials and he issued a second court order telling the task force they had to leave the facility.
"The same judge issued an injunction saying you can't inspect the machines, you have to leave. We appealed to the state Supreme Court, and the court said a local judge can not stop law enforcement from enforcing the law," Emerson said.
Emerson said the task force was attempting to inspect the devices to determine whether they were in fact slot machines, but Hardaway issued several more injunctions including one this week ordering the inspectors to leave the facility, again going against the Supreme Court ruling. Emerson said the task force complied once again with Hardaway's decision and appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The court overturned Hardaway's ruling late Wednesday night Emerson said and the task force began tagging the machines for inspection. Police say they also discovered that any cash inside the bingo machines had been removed sometime this week after Hardaway's final injunction late Tuesday night.
The Supreme Court's ruling made it clear that in their opinion, Hardaway had overstepped his bounds, saying he "had no authority to enjoin or interfere with the law enforcement operations."
"Compliance with an order of this Court is not optional. The 11:47 p.m. order makes it necessary for this Court to act immediately to protect the authority of this Court and the integrity of our prior order," the ruling said.
"The rule of law has prevailed," Task Force commander John Tyson Jr. said in a statement after Wednesday's high court ruling.
"Last night when the task force showed up to enforce the ruling, a group of about 16 folks blocked them from entering the casino," Emerson said.
"They were asked to stand aside and they refused. They asked several times to be arrested and about 12 hours later law enforcement complied with the court order and their own request to be arrested," Emerson said.
Emerson said the protestors were arrested for violating a court order, a misdemeanor.
"We told them we're not going to fight, we're going peacefully because this is something we believe in and we believe in it enough to go to jail for it," Goodson told ABC News after his release from jail yesterday.
According to Goodson, the protestors were released on bond and will appear in court at a later date.
The Supreme Court has ordered Greeneway closed while they work out the final details of the raid, and by 9 p.m. yesterday the court officially ordered the removal of the bingo machines. The Supreme Court also ruled that Judge Hardaway is to be removed from any more jurisdiction over the case.
Despite their efforts, the protestors may be unable to stop the track from being permanently shuttered.