Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald resigned Tuesday amid reports alleging racist and sexist slurs detailed during an investigation.
Tuesday, county executive Alan Kittleman addressed the media in a press conference. Watch below:
Council Chairperson Calvin Ball announced that Fitzgerald’s last day in office will be Saturday, Oct. 15. He will retire within 30 days as part of the agreement.
Ball released the following statement:
I appreciate the call for impeachment; however, this can be a lengthy process. Therefore, I began engaging in discussions with Mr. Fitzgerald, following the release of the Human Rights report, to discuss the voluntary conciliatory process, as outlined in our Howard County Code. I spoke with him about the pain of our community and how we needed to turn the page on this chapter of prejudice. The intent of actions and words is irrelevant in the face of such a horrendous impact.
The ideals of diversity and inclusion that we promote in Howard County will never be fully realized if we avoid difficult conversations because they make us uncomfortable. Some hurtful things were said, things that I take quite personally as a black man with a beautiful black family.
I thank everyone across the County who stood up, believing as I do, that our community should be a model for celebrating our diversity and actions like this cannot stand unchecked. Howard County deserves better from its leaders. I hope we can see this moment as a beginning and not an end. We will have a new Sheriff and we will still have so many issues within and around our community. This episode should show us that we cannot simply assume we are and will be #1. We cannot rest on our laurels.
Elected officials, community leaders, and everyday citizens must be ready and willing to struggle to achieve more to engage our diversity and have the difficult conversations.