ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Pushing for impeachment. Howard County leaders are trying to oust the county sheriff after a scathing new report accuses him of racism, bigotry and retaliating against staff that didn’t support his reelection.
Sheriff James Fitzgerald has said he will not resign.
A scathing report calls him the “poster child for bigotry, bullying and temper tantrums.”
A 49-page investigation, obtained by The Baltimore Sun, says Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald threatened employees using racist slurs, referred to the former county executive by an anti-Semitic name and told one African American deputy: “There’s no watermelon there for you.”
“I can say that the report was humbling, hurtful and disappointing to all involved,” said Sheriff Fitzgerald.
Despite the calls of numerous county leaders and protests outside his office, the elected sheriff has refused to resign.
“A hostile work environment alone is not the way we should have our sheriff’s department run,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, (R).
Now county leaders are asking the General Assembly to step in and impeach the Democratic sheriff.
Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary says she was shocked by the report and worries what happens if the sheriff stays on.
“I’m concerned. And it’s curious how many people in his office feel that way and for how long they felt that they couldn’t speak up,” said Del. Atterbeary, (D) Howard County.
Fitzgerald has been sheriff in Howard County for more than ten years, and is currently in his third term.
Atterbeary is now working with the Attorney General’s Office to see if it’s even legally possible for the General Assembly to impeach Fitzgerald — something that’s never been done.
Still, she pleads with the sheriff: “Do the right thing for the county. Do the right thing for the citizens that live here.”
The sheriff’s current term extends to 2018.
The full Howard County delegation will meet soon to discuss whether they can move forward with impeachment.