(CN) – A former detective claims in court that the Loudon County, Va. sheriff fired him after he refused to throw his support behind the sheriff’s re-election bid.
In a circuit court complaint filed on Thursday, plaintiff Mark McCaffrey says he was 30-year law enforcement veteran, and a highly decorated and respected detective, when Loudon County Sheriff Michael Chapman ended his career.
According to the 51-page complaint, the trouble between the two men began after McCaffrey threw his political support behind retired Major Eric Noble, Chapman’s opponent in the 2015 sheriff’s race, and went so far as to place a Noble campaign sign in his front yard.
McCaffrey says Chapman retaliated almost immediately by refusing to reappoint him as a detective, despite the fact reappoints had been automatic in the past.
Then, a month after the election, Chapman fired him, the complaint says.
McCaffrey says his refusal to back Chapman stemmed from concerns about the sheriff’s behavior and honesty, and the lawman’s willingness to do “favors for campaign contributors.”
McCaffrey also objected to what he considered Chapman’s penchant for creating a “dynamic of intimidation generated by rudeness, lies, and insulting behavior towards his colleagues, punctuated by screaming and fits of rage, capped by campaigns of unrelenting retaliation by any means, against the perpetrators of every perceived slight or difference of opinion.”
McCaffrey also claims Chapman once told senior commanders at the sheriff’s office: “People challenge me, I’m going to crush them. They’ll never work in law enforcement. I’m going to run their career.”
All of this, McCaffrey claims was the result of Chapman’s “single minded passion to advance his own interests, magnify his own stature and self-importance and diminish subordinates.”
McCaffrey seeks $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.8 million in punitive damages.
He is represented by attorney Robert Cynkar of McSweeney, Cynkar and Kachouroff in Great Falls, Virginia.
A representative of the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.