Jackson County Sheriff faces another lawsuit involving discrimination

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand faces another lawsuit that accuses him of racial discrimination against one of his former deputy’s.

That lawsuit was filed about a week ago by former Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Lino Johnson.

It claims that Sheriff Steve Rand’s office was “an incubator for egregious racism and bigotry.”   

Johnson was hired at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in February of 2015 and was believed to be the county’s first African American road patrol deputy.

In spring of 2017, he was forced to resign or otherwise be terminated after he was placed under investigation for misconduct at a local bar when he was off duty.

Although Johnson proved he did not commit the act, the lawsuit claims the discrimination festered at the sheriff’s office until he handed in his badge.

Now Sheriff Rand is in the hot seat once again facing allegations of racism and bigotry.

In the lawsuit, Johnson claims he received unequal treatment because of his race. It goes on to say he was passed over for special trainings, promotions and assignments in favor of white law enforcement officers.

The lawsuit states Johnson reported the discrimination, but it fell on deaf ears.

These aren’t the first allegations Sheriff Rand has been accused of. Earlier this year, a lawsuit claimed he was known to make inappropriate comments about minorities, gays, disabled people and women.

In fact, audio recordings were released to 6 News of Rand making these comments.

“I thought you gingers stuck together with the blacks,” Rand stated in one of the audio recordings.

In another recording, Sheriff Rand says he wanted to make a pornographic film with a female county employee and murder her on camera.

“I want to make a snuff film filmed with her. And she’s going to be the star,” Rand stated in a recording.

Sheriff Rand sent 6 News a statement on Wednesday in response to the lawsuit involving Johnson. He says quote:

“I have not seen the allegation yet and it would not be appropriate to comment on the allegation.”

Meanwhile, one of Johnson’s attorney’s says because of Rand’s history with racial discrimination, she feels this could be a strong case.

“I think that in this climate people really aren’t inclined to brush off serious racial discrimination like what was displayed by Sheriff Rand here,” said Kathryn Bruner James; Johnson’s Attorney.

According to this lawsuit, Johnson is asking for $75,000 in damages not including costs, interests and attorney fees.

Johnson’s lawyer says everything is in the preliminary stages but we’ll be sure to keep you updated with any developments.

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