Last week, Trump invited a collection to sheriffs to the White House for a rousing speech about the evils of the free press, exactly the kind of thing the leader of a democracy does all the time, and the sheriffs gave him a standing ovation, because that's exactly the kind of thing you'd want fairminded law-enforcement agents to do in a democracy.
Why were these sheriffs so delighted to hear the press condemned by Cheeto Hitler?
Perhaps it has something to do with how many of them presided over ghastly scandals that were revealed by their own local press outlets, like Morgan county, Alabama Sheriff Ana Franklin (stole $150K from inmate meal fund to fund a used car lot owned by a convicted fraudster); Bristol county, Massachusetts Sheriff Thomas Hodgson (angered at the investigation of suicides in his cells, his daughter charged with witness intimidation after she threatened to have a cop fired if he detained her after a mass-shooting); Culpeper county, Virginia Sheriff Scott Jenkins ("chaos, bullying and turnover problems" in his office, flew first class at taxpayer's expense, accused of suppressing evidence that led to a wrongful conviction and 12 years in prison). Etc.
6. Sheriff Wayne Ivey, Brevard county, Florida
Deputies working for Ivey have repeatedly attracted bad press this year. In March, one was charged with drug and child neglect offences after officers investigating reports of screaming and gunfire at his home discovered cocaine and bullet casings. In May, three deputies were charged with driving drunk while off-duty.
As the Guardian reported during Trump’s 2016 election campaign, Ivey retired as a state law enforcement officer in 2011, three days after he was accused by a local muckraking website of making a threatening telephone call to a female probation officer who was the ex-fiancee of Ivey’s son, Robert.
8. Sheriff Paul Bailey, Berrien county, Michigan
Bailey’s office was the subject of an investigation by ABC57 television into allegations deputies mistreated and sexually abused female jail inmates. The series led to a total of 19 women making accusations against seven guards or former guards.
Three deputies resigned and one was charged with offering money for prostitution, to which he pleaded no contest. A lawsuit brought by 10 of the women was dismissed in February this year after a federal judge ruled that the statute of limitations on their allegations had passed.
Bailey told south-west Michigan’s Herald Palladium following Wednesday’s meeting at the White House that he shared Trump’s displeasure at “some media not telling the truth”.
Sheriffs who cheered Trump's attack on press have their own media run-ins [Jon Swaine/The Guardian]