Sheriff’s rehiring of deputies warrants recall

The deadline is rapidly approaching for completion of signature gathering in the petition drive to recall Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney.

If you are hazy on the details, or need a petition form, you will find more information on the website. A successful petition drive sets the stage for a recall election, in which Sheriff Fortney must defend his record to the electorate.

Of the recall complaints, the most serious to me is his rehiring of three deputies fired for cause. Of these, the traffic stop killing of a young man, at which Sheriff Fortney was present, and played a role, is the most stomach turning.

All of the recall complaints are indicative of a sheriff who feels his office does not just enforce our laws, but actually sets the law; can ridicule public safety guidance, and pick and choose which laws to enforce. Under Fortney, we have a sheriff’s office that reinstates liars, and tolerates excessive use of force by his deputies, and will support even insupportable uses of deadly force.

The May 31, 2020, experience of the city of Snohomish also tells us this is a sheriff who makes common cause with white supremacist groups, and views them as supporters and allies.

If Fortney was in the last year of his term, a recall would not be urgent. But Fortney has three more years in office before he faces election. Given all that has happened since Sheriff Fortney took office, three years is too long.

Jan Lengenfelder


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