Commissioners Approve $120K in Sheriff Discrimination Settlement - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Commissioners Approve $120K in Sheriff Discrimination Settlement

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MISSOULA -

Missoula County commissioners approve a $120,000 settlement for two deputies who said the sheriff discriminated against them when one announced plans to run for sheriff.

Last month, a Montana Human Rights Bureau investigator found Sheriff Carl Ibsen discriminated against sheriff's candidate Detective Sgt. T.J. McDermott and Detective Jason Johnson, who supported his candidacy.

Johnson filed the complaint with the Human Rights Bureau after he was demoted from his public information officer position for supporting McDermott.

County commissioners approved a $60,000 settlement each for Johnson and McDermott on Thursday.

The Human Rights Bureau will also monitor the sheriff's office for one year, and train or provide training for sheriff's office employees on political beliefs, discrimination and retaliation.

That training is open to all employees, but is required for sergeants, lieutenants, captains, the undersheriff and sheriff.

Johnson said the outcome of the case was agreeable to both he and McDermott.

"I know both T.J. and I are looking forward to putting this behind us and looking forward to just working in a sheriff's office that is dedicated to professionalism," Johnson said.

McDermott added the following in a statement to ABC FOX MONTANA:

"I think this was a satisfactory resolution. I want to look forward to continuing my service to our citizens in a fair and just way. I, like all law enforcement officers, am sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution. One of the fundamental rights under our Constitution is that none of us will be treated differently because of our political beliefs. I filed this claim because it was the right thing to do. Now, we can move forward and I can do what I do best---enforce the law and protect all citizens equally." -TJ McDermott

After the complaint was filed, Sheriff Ibsen he was not demoting Johnson from PIO, but that the position was always meant to be temporary for him.

On Friday, he said under an item in the settlement, he's required to respond "that the case has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of all parties and that all parties are committed to a professional workplace."

Johnson and McDermott remain on staff as detectives under Sheriff Ibsen.

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