Last Wednesday, the RISE Coalition of Western Maryland rallied several organizations, Frederick residents, and state delegates together on the steps of Winchester Hall for a press conference pushing for Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ resignation following his recent federal indictment for illegal machine gun purchases.
[READ: Activists Call on Frederick County Sheriff to Resign After Indictment in Machine Gun Scheme]
[READ: Frederick Sheriff Indicted on Gun Charges]
Just hours before the rally, Jenkins’ arraignment was held in U.S. District Court where he plead non-guilty to five federal counts of conspiracy and making false statements. Jenkins was ordered to surrender all firearms, including his service weapon. Standing with RISE, Resources for Immigrant Services and Empowerment, were the organizations: Frederick March for Justice; Frederick Progressives; American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Nigerians in Frederick (NIF), Mari Lee, Chair of the Frederick County Democratic Central Committee and state delegate D3 Representative Kris Fair.
Weapons of war have no business in Frederick County. None. – Jessica Douglass, Frederick resident
[READ: Frederick Co. Sheriff Pleads Not Guilty in Alleged Machine Gun Scheme, Takes Leave]
See a portion of the county coalition’s press release below:
“When voters went to the polls in November and elected Jenkins for a fifth term, they did not know that Jenkins was under Federal investigation for an illegal scheme to bring dangerous weapons into our County for profit and political favors. But Jenkins did. Jenkins had been aware of the investigation and possible indictment for six months, and still withheld this from the public. His latest violation of public trust is part of a pattern where he puts his political interests over the public’s safety.” Read the full press release here.
RISE leader Roberto Juarez led the press conference and spoke on the fear of Sheriff Jenkins that has permeated the city with stories of his personal interactions with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FSCO).
During the conference, it was announced that Jenkins had taken a leave of absence pending the outcome of the federal investigation after initially remaining on post.
[READ: Jenkins: “I Can Still Support the Role of Sheriff”]
Akiyyah Billups, Director of Frederick March for Justice, an organization most notably known for co-leading the ‘No Justice, No Peace’ March in 2020, highlighted the sheriff’s power in choosing to temporarily step down — a choice he should not have at all. Sebastian Brown of RISE read a statement from State Senator Karen Lewis Young echoing these sentiments and proposing change: “Given the extremely serious criminal charges that our County Sheriff is facing, I believe that he should go on administrative leave immediately…it is obvious that the General Assembly must establish a clear process for the removal or suspension of a sheriff. This is not the first time that our County has faced this issue.”
[READ: Frederick County Chief Deputy to Take Over for Sheriff Amid Machine Guns]
The speakers called on elected city and county officials to speak and act. To date, County Councilman Kavonte Duckett is the only official to publicly condemn the sheriff’s alleged crimes and call for him to step down in his role. To those on Wednesday, the collective silence is deafening.
On Tuesday, April 25th, RISE urges the Frederick community to attend the County Council Legislative Session budget hearing to give public outcry and demand the Council use its positional power to call Sheriff Chuck Jenkins to resign and restore public trust through accountability.