In Ohio, Charmaine McGuffey has become Hamilton county’s first female and openly LGBTQI person elected sheriff. However, the win was made more sweeter in the fact that McGuffey is set to replace Jim Neil, who was the very same man that fired her due to her sexuality some three years ago.
In a pending lawsuit against the department McGuffey is soon set to command, it is alleged she was subjected to a toxic workplace, simply because she spoke out against excessive force, and because she is an openly gay woman.
However, Neil – an apparent Democrat but confusingly also a vocal supporter of outgoing US President Donald Trump – insists he terminated McGuffey for ‘creating a hostile work environment.’
Upon speaking up about mistreatment of inmates, McGuffey told LGBTQ Nation she “was told to sit down and be quiet. I was the major of that jail, so my name’s on that if you guys are going to shove the use of force under the rug…”
In another alleged incident, a staffer waved a Trump hat at McGuffey while she was attempting to lead a meeting, “Everybody burst out laughing, it made me feel targeted, made me feel alone. I didn’t like it, but I was getting things done, and I just continued to work.”
Following an official complaint which alleged she screamed at and belittled subordinates, Neil launched an internal investigation.
“The current sheriff and I got into a pretty serious disagreement about the practice of him not holding officers accountable for use of force and harassment of women, female officers, and female inmates,” McGuffey said. “He fired me. So, after about a year or so of contemplating, I decided I can do a better job than him.”
Speaking of her campaign this year, she said “I’ve been gay my entire life and what I learned as early as an 11 years old was this: if you don’t stand up to bullies, they run you and they cause you to fail and a whole lot of negative things happen to you. You have to stand up to them, but when you do stand up to them, there are consequences. It’s not easy, so it’s what I’ve done my whole life, and I have tremendously great people surrounding me who helped me through those rough times.”
McGuffey’s election comes after 30 years of service, having joined the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in 1983. In 2013, McGuffey was promoted to major in command of jail and court services. The following year McGuffey was named regional Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. In 2016, the Ohio House of Representatives honoured her after she was named Public Citizen of the Year by the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.