The Benton County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild (BCDSG) in Kennewick, Washington, has unanimously voted to recall Sheriff Jerry Hatcher.
A whistleblower prompted an independent investigation into Hatcher when they alleged that Hatcher violated anti-discrimination and harassment policy laws, according to BCDSG’s June 23rd press release. The investigation also found that Hatcher “committed retaliatory actions” against the whistleblower as well as two witnesses. Additionally, Hatcher was “engaged in anti-union activity.” The Guild concluded that “Sheriff Hatcher committed acts that were either malfeasance, misfeasance, and/or a violation of his oath of office.”
After the BCDSG assembled for a vote of no confidence in February, Hatcher told the press that the vote was carried out by “a small nucleus of people within the sheriff’s office that feel this way.” But the press release asserts that the “small nucleus” was an “overwhelming majority” who voted “no confidence.”
The BCDSG press release also mentions the recent movement to bring awareness to law enforcement whistleblowers who try and speak out against misconduct, stating that the group identifies with these struggles. Even though BCDSG has pursued the removal of Hatcher “through the proper channels,” the County Administration has failed to offer support, according to the press release. The group states that they have chosen to bring public attention to the issue in the hopes that the community will help recall Hatcher.
Tri-City Herald’s reporting on the vote
NBC Right Now’s article on the vote
KEPR News report on Hatcher’s rebuttal
Lawyer for BCDSG explains the vote to recall Sheriff Hatcher (video)