WASHINGTON (JTA) — A county sheriff in Maryland accused of making racist and anti-Semitic comments is refusing to resign.
James Fitzgerald, a Democrat who is the elected sheriff in Howard County, a mixed rural-suburban county straddling Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C., said at a news conference on Sept. 29 that he would not step down.
The county’s Office of Human Rights had compiled a report which alleged that Fitzgerald had frequently used the N word to disparage blacks, referred derisively to women’s bodies and had called a former county executive, Ken Ulman, “little Kenny Jew-boy,” the Washington Post reported. The county executive is equivalent to a mayor.
In the press conference, Fitzgerald referred to the report as “humbling, hurtful and disappointing to all involved,” but did not confirm that he had used the offensive language.
A bipartisan slate of officials has called on Fitzgerald to step down, and current County Executive Allan Kittleman is investigating whether Fitzgerald can be impeached.