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Michigan sheriff sued for discriminatory, racist behavior

scales of justice
North Charleston
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Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A federal lawsuit alleges that a Michigan sheriff made insulting remarks against blacks, women and Hispanics and mocked a lieutenant for his work-related hearing loss.

Jackson County Lt. Tommy Schuette filed a federal lawsuit against the county and Sheriff Steven Rand on Monday. The lawsuit states that many of Rand's derogatory comments were recorded.

The lawsuit also alleges that Rand created a hostile work environment and harassed Schuette because of his disability. It says the county didn't take action when Schuette reported Rand's behavior and isn't giving him proper disability coverage.

Jackson County officials deny any wrongdoing and have referred the issue to the Michigan State Police and attorney general for an independent criminal investigation.

In an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Rand noted that "it would not be prudent to talk about pending litigation" and said he planned to speak with a lawyer before possibly commenting.

*Clarification: Michigan State Police have confirmed that there is a criminal investigation into a previous allegation of criminal wrongdoing involving the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, but it’s not related to the non-criminal allegations in the federal lawsuit filed by Lt. Tommy Schuette. This article focuses on the allegations in Schuette’s lawsuit.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition at Michigan Radio. She also co-hosts Michigan Radio’s weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.