The Frederick County Democratic Central Committee would like to thank Council Member Kai Hagen for his actions on the evening of June 20, and we strongly condemn the subsequent actions of Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.
Council Member Hagen stopped to check on the well-being of a driver who had been pulled over by a deputy. He was not blocking traffic (there was none to block), and he did not get out of his car. When the driver assured him that all was fine, Mr. Hagen drove on. We appreciate that Mr. Hagen cares about his constituents and neighbors. We further appreciate his willingness to acknowledge later that he could have handled the incident better; it’s a rare man who can admit that he may have been wrong.
The sheriff publicly called Mr. Hagen “an embarrassment to Frederick County and the County Council.” To our minds, it is Mr. Jenkins who is the embarrassment to our community. As we previously noted in this space, he has associated himself with Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He has been sued for racial bias, unconstitutional policing, and gender discrimination (inter alia), and he has a long history of directing his rage at those with whom he disagrees.
On the radio since the June 20 incident, the sheriff yelled about “the damn County Council” and County Executive Jan Gardner. He warned that the county “had better wake up and see what this Democratic County Council and this County Executive are doing,” mischaracterizing their good government as “destroying” and “ruining” Frederick County.
He lied about what happened prior to June 20, omitted relevant details, and otherwise whipped his base into a frenzy; as a result, national right-wing news sources have amplified his version of events, and fans of the sheriff have sent hundreds of death threats to Mr. Hagen, many of them including graphic descriptions and language far too vile to print here. We can only hope that those messages sent from local residents, at least, are being thoroughly investigated by the sheriff’s department.
We also urge voters to consider the incumbent’s character — or lack of character — next year when it’s time to elect a sheriff.
Deborah Carter is chair of the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee.