Dem Cleveland Mayor Under Fire for Hiring Former Officer Who Was the Focus of Civil Rights Lawsuit – RedState

Dem Cleveland Mayor Under Fire for Hiring Former Officer Who Was the Focus of Civil Rights Lawsuit – RedState

Democrat Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb has come under fire for a questionable hiring decision. The city recently hired Philip McHugh, a former detective in Washington, D.C., whose career as a law enforcement officer raises serious questions about whether he should have a position in such an important office.

McHugh was brought on as a public safety advisor. But reports suggest that his past might be an issue for the job for which he was hired.

Phillip McHugh was the most qualified candidate who applied for the job of senior public safety advisor, a position that the city created to assist Interim Public Safety Director Wayne Drummond with operational tasks, strategy and data analysis, Bibb’s spokeswoman Sarah Johnson said.

McHugh went through the same onboarding process, which includes a background check, as other city employees, Johnson said.

McHugh shared a campus dorm with Bibb and two other students, a spokeswoman said. The men graduated from American University in Washington D.C.

The city will pay him a $124,000 salary.

When McHugh was a D.C. detective in 2016, he was accused of violating the civil rights of an elderly black couple.

In May 2016, Vashti and Eugene Sherrod, an elderly black couple, filed a federal lawsuit alleging McHugh violated their civil rights when he pursued false allegations against Vashti Sherrod.

The Sherrods’ attorney, Kenneth Bynum, said the lawsuit was settled for a “substantial amount.”

The lawsuit alleges the driver of an Isuzu Trooper told McHugh that Vashti Sherrod, who was 75 at the time, threatened her and pulled out a “black semi-automatic pistol” after the driver hit Sherrod’s parked car on May 14, 2015.

The lawsuit alleges surveillance video failed to corroborate the driver’s story. It said Sherrod also told McHugh she did not own a gun. McHugh continued to pursue the case.

The lawsuit says the Sherrods were pulled over at gunpoint by Capitol Police after McHugh reported their vehicle was stolen. It said McHugh searched their vehicle but did not find a gun.

The lawsuit says McHugh then obtained a search warrant for their home, where he “upended” their belongings. Again, no gun was found.

Finally, the lawsuit said McHugh used false information to obtain a warrant for Sherrod’s arrest. It says she turned herself in and was released on her own recognizance.

The lawsuit said prosecutors dropped the charges against Sherrod in January 2016.

It was later revealed that McHugh was Mayor Bibb’s roommate in college, which seems to have played a role in his being chosen for the job. Richard Starr, the councilman for Ward 5, expressed reservations about McHugh’s hiring, arguing that the lawsuit shows McHugh will “do whatever it takes to make himself seem right.”

Sarah Johnson, the city’s chief communications officer, defending the hiring decision, pointing out that “The case against Mr. McHugh was dismissed and there was no finding of wrongdoing made by the court or by his previous employer,” and that he “underwent the same onboarding process, including a background check, required of all new city employees.”

The local NAACP chapter president expressed alarm at McHugh’s hiring, saying that “It is not wise, to allow somebody who has been at the center of a civil rights violation investigation, to come into the city that they have no idea about, and be an advisor.”

Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/jeffc/2024/04/14/cleveland-mayor-under-fire-for-hiring-former-officer-who-was-at-the-center-of-civil-rights-investigation-n2172732
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