JACKSON, MI -- The state of Michigan recently ushered in two new leaders who have the power to make an immediate and positive impact in Jackson County by ushering out Sheriff Steven Rand.
We hope Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel have the courage and moral fortitude to do what their predecessors did not.
More than a year ago, Rand was caught on tape making misogynistic and sexist remarks, including a graphic description of a pornographic ‘snuff film’ he’d like to make, in which he shoots a court employee in the back of the head while having sex with her.
The tapes were released to the Citizen Patriot/MLive following a lawsuit filed by sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Schuette, who alleged Rand started discriminating against him after Schuette suffered a work-related hearing loss. The lawsuit also describes Rand as a “multi-faceted bigot,” who regularly denigrates women, minorities, the LGBTQ community and the disabled.
After the tapes went public, the County Board of Commissioners, the City Council, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Branch of the NAACP and the Citizen Patriot/MLive Editorial Board called on Rand to resign. He refuses to do so.
The County Board and City Council went a step further, calling on former Gov. Rick Snyder to remove Rand for misconduct in office. Snyder referred the matter to former Attorney General Bill Schuette for review.
There it languished for 10 months, leaving this community in limbo — unable to move forward or heal as Rand remains the top law enforcement official in the county.
This week, Jackson Vice Mayor Arlene Robinson again called for Rand’s removal. His continued presence in office proves institutional racism is alive and well, Robinson noted.
In addition to the profanity-laden tapes, the Citizen Patriot/MLive investigation last year also found:
* Rand discharged his handgun inside his office, and did not report the incident to anyone except Undersheriff Chris Kuhl, who told the Citizen Patriot/MLive that he investigated the shooting and verbally counseled the sheriff about gun safety. No official police report was ever filed.
* Rand also failed to take action against a jail commander who was publicly criticized by a judge for altering a hospitalized inmate’s bond, allowing him to go free. The commander said it was a mistake, but the judge called it “borderline criminal.” During a discussion of the incident on the tapes, Rand calls the judge a “big old dick,” and thanks the commander for “taking one for the team.”
So far, Whitmer and Nessel have been quiet on Rand. Several requests from a reporter for an update have been unsuccessful.
On the campaign trail in October, Whitmer accused Schuette of “dragging his feet” on the Rand case. She assured a reporter she would move swiftly, if elected.
It’s time to make good on that promise.