Sheriff T.J. McDermott Said Josh Clark ‘Hated My Guts’ During Hearing Testimony
Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott took the stand at the Josh Clark political discrimination hearing on Thursday, and related his dealings with Clark at the sheriff's office.
McDermott began by stating that his career in law enforcement has spanned 21 years. He described his working relationship with Clark, that he made Detective and eventually decided to run for sheriff in 2014. Both Clark and McDermott were running as Democrats, but the Democratic Central Committee chose to support McDermott over Clark.
"Mr. Clark was angry that he had lost the primary," McDermott said. "At one point when I was talking to him, he pounded his fists on the table and said 'I Guess I'm going to f'-ing patrol.' I hadn't talked to him, he never congratulated me on my victory and he just seemed very angry. But, I told him, 'Josh, if there's something you want to do, I'm willing to talk about it.'"
McDermott testified that it was clear that Clark 'hated his guts'.
"He hated my guts," McDermott said. "As he testified, he did not think that I should be sheriff. that I do not have the level of integrity or honest that's required to be sheriff, and he was just not supportive of me being in the role of sheriff and being the leader of the department. He simply hated my guts."
McDermott also testified about a Missoulian newspaper article that was followed by an insulting anonymous comment.
"Early on, when it was announced that I was running for sheriff in the media, there was an article in the Missoulian, and as part of that article, an anonymous commenter posted that I had been fired from the Anaconda Police Department for raping a female inmate with a nightstick," he said.
McDermott said he contacted the Missoulian and eventually uncovered the fact that the comment was made by a member of Clark's campaign team.
Testimony wrapped by late Thursday afternoon. The hearings examiner will now determine if, indeed, political discrimination or retaliation took place, and if so, how it should be compensated.