JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – The lawsuit against Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand has shocked the Jackson community causing outrage among members of the county’s city leadership who have since called on Sheriff Rand to resign, including the city’s mayor and several council members.
And on Sunday, dozens of residents followed suit by hosting a march.
The message of the protest was heard loud and clear…Sheriff Rand should resign after his discriminatory remarks, but that’s not all. The people who participated are also demanding change.
“Racist, sexist, anti-gay…Sheriff Rand must go away!”
Step by step, dozens of people marched with a mission down the streets of Jackson to call for the sheriff to step down.
“That type of bigotry that he’s demonstrated on the audio tapes absolutely means that he’s unsuitable to guarantee the safety of all the citizens of Jackson,” said Eric Krawczak; who participated in the march.
“He should listen and just take the expedient way out because this is not going to end pretty if he tries to stay,” Jackson Resident Karyl Deems-Baker stated.
“What do we want? Rand’s resignation! When do we want it? Now!” the group chanted.
Protesters say the allegations in the recent lawsuit has left them feeling shocked, angry and in disbelief.
Many say they can’t wrap their head around the homophobic, racist and sexist comments made by Sheriff Rand in a series of recordings that were released.
“I was appalled one that he would think or say them, and I was also appalled the community did not react,” said Nikki Joly; who was representing “Citizens Against Hate.”
“I was speechless. At first I didn’t know what to do, I actually called the sheriff’s department thinking like that was going to be a place for me to protest and then I just immediately went straight to their Facebook page to see if they had made any public statement which they hadn’t and I was just utterly disgusted,” Krawczak stated.
6 News reached out to Sheriff Rand for comment on Sunday’s protest and Undersheriff Chris Kuhl responded on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
The statement says:
“I appreciate the peaceful and thoughtful nature of today’s march to the Sheriff Dept. Peaceful protest and demonstration is one of the great freedoms that all citizens enjoy and is at the very bedrock of our democracy.
I look forward to reaching out to a number of groups, citizens and community members in the coming weeks and months to begin to restore our relationship with the community.
Once again I ask for the communities support for all of our men and women of this department who are the very face of this organization. These people are the ones who carry out its great works every day and should be supported.”
Because the sheriff was elected to the sheriff’s office, only a resignation, recall or intervention from the governor can remove him from office.
Due to the pending lawsuit, the controversy surrounding Sheriff Rand is far from over.
Be sure to stay with us both on-air and online as we continue to follow the very latest on the situation.