ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)– Days after a scathing report exposed alleged racism and sexism by the Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald, protesters are fanning the flames and calling for his resignation.
Sheriff Fitzgerald has still not responded to WJZ’s requests for comment, but there’s been no shortage of voices speaking out against him.
Fed up Howard County residents demand urgency from Fitzgerald, outside the courthouse Monday.
“We want Fitzgerald to resign, without benefits and to resign now, effective immediately,” said one protester.
A prompt response following last week’s scathing report by the Howard County Office of Human Rights, painted long-time sheriff, James Fitzgerald as a hostile, arrogant leader, who discriminated against women and minorities.
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One lieutenant in the report says Fitzgerald, “has become the poster child for bigotry, bullying, and temper tantrums. The venom that spews from this man’s mouth is abhorrent.”
“He is the one who sets the tone for the department. He should resign now,” said another protester.
Protesters had hoped Sheriff Fitzgerald would have resigned before the weekend, but so far they’ve heard nothing.
In fact, Fitzgerald can’t be forced from office unless he’s convicted of a crime. Current Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has called for his resignation, as well as former County Exec Ken Ulman, a victim of Sheriff Fitzgerald’s alleged anti-Semitism.
“When these things come out, the community acts very swiftly, and it’s time for the sheriff to do the same,” said Ulman.
A growing push for change in Howard County’s law enforcement, starting at the top.
“This is getting to the root of it, the implicit bias and making sure that anybody, any bad apple is out,” said another protester.
Nearly 300 people have signed a change.org petition online to have Fitzgerald removed.
Fitzgerald has told investigators he’s just a loud New Yorker and has increased diversity.