After rising through the ranks for 33 years, becoming the first female major in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in Cincinnati, Charmaine McGuffey was ousted in 2017. She said she was fired for being a lesbian and for calling attention to the use of excessive force against inmates. Her boss, Sheriff Jim Neil, said she refused to accept a demotion after an internal affairs investigation concluded that she had created a hostile work environment, the New York Times reports. McGuffey, 63, will return as the elected sheriff after defeating Neil in a Democratic primary in April and a Republican challenger last Tuesday. McGuffey said she was not motivated by a desire for revenge. “I decided that I can do a better job than him and I need to be back in that office so that I can finish the job I started, which is to bring true criminal-justice reform to the system,” she said.
McGuffey will assume control of an 800-person staff that oversees 1,500 inmates. During her campaign, she described herself as a progressive who would focus on “rehabilitative, rather than punitive strategies” to reduce recidivism. Neil called McGuffey a political activist who would turn the city and county into another Chicago, Portland or Seattle and would push an “anti-law enforcement agenda.” McGuffey last week won 52 percent of the vote in a Democratic-leaning county Joe Biden won 57 percent of the vote. Her victory was the culmination of a bitter campaign and a federal lawsuit she filed in May 2018 against Neil and the county. She said he used a biased internal affairs investigation of her to fire her. Investigators said she “used bullying techniques such as belittling, cursing, yelling and screaming” to intimidate officers.