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Investigator: Deputy Faced Discrimination

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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — An investigator for the Montana Human Rights Bureau has found reasonable cause to believe a Missoula County sheriff’s deputy faced discrimination and retaliation because of his support of a candidate for sheriff.

Deputy Jason Johnson filed a grievance, complaining that he lost his position as public information officer after Detective Sgt. T.J. McDermott and Johnson announced plans to run as sheriff and undersheriff. Johnson said Sheriff Carl Ibsen then told him he would have to use vacation time to attend grievance meetings.

Patrol Sgt. Bill Burt told investigator Dennis Unsworth that on at least three occasions, Ibsen told him that he would “do anything within his power” to prevent McDermott from being elected.

Bureau staff will now try to reach a settlement. If that is not possible, a hearing will be held.

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