Former Wake deputy who was fired under Sheriff Baker running to unseat him

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A former Wake County deputy who lost his job after Sheriff Gerald Baker took office announced on Thursday he’s running to unseat him.

Randolph Baity stood outside the Wake County Public Safety Center to talk about his campaign for the office. The election for sheriff is not until 2022.

“I feel that I want to get myself out there, starting with the people, the community,” said Baity. “My message is service over self.”

Baity worked for the sheriff’s office for 17 years when he was fired from his position after Baker took office in late 2018.

“My termination at that time was without cause. Like many other officers, it devastated not just ourselves but our families,” he said.

Baker faced criticism at the time for firing or demoting at least 40 employees. This week former deputy Richard Johnson filed a lawsuit against Baker, claiming his firing was a retaliatory act for the role he had in demoting one of Baker’s friends. Baity said he has no plans to file a lawsuit regarding his termination, instead of focusing on his campaign.

“These trained professionals are afraid to do their jobs. They are being led by fear and intimidation,” Baity said.

Baity and Baker are both Democrats. Baker defeated long-time former Sheriff Donnie Harrison, a Republican, in the 2018 election.

Baity said aside from the employment decisions Baker has made, he disagreed with other moves such as ending public access to the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center.

“The services to the community aren’t there as of right now. I want to rebuild those services,” Baity said.

When asked whether he would work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he said, “If elected I will work with all law enforcement agencies.”

He said he would honor detainer requests by ICE to hold suspects at the jail, but he has concerns about another program known as 287(g). It’s a voluntary program that allows local law enforcement agencies to carry out some functions of federal agents.

The sheriff’s office participated in 287(g) under former Sheriff Harrison. It does not under Sheriff Baker, who has also declined to honor detainer requests by ICE.

“The sheriff’s office was a great place to work and hopefully, if elected, it would be a great place once again,” said Baity.

Republican David Blackwelder also has announced his candidacy for sheriff. 

Baker, whose father passed away earlier this week, has not commented on Baity’s announcement.

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