RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Friday morning the new Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker spoke to CBS 17 to clear the air regarding allegations against him.
Baker has been in office for three months and he’s already facing harsh criticism after demoting, terminating and re-positioning more than 40 deputies.
CBS 17 Investigative Reporter Felicia Bolton questioned Baker about the allegations against him.
“There’s certain former duties and current deputies saying that the decisions you made with staffing are based off of racism or homophobic in nature. What are your thoughts on those allegations?” questioned Bolton.
“I’ve been here for 28 years and I was here for the 16 years of the last administration and I have been paying keen – I have been paying attention to the office! And so no one has been affected by employment here based on race or orientation or any of those things,” Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker said.
Baker’s executive aid claims the current tensions in the sheriff’s office stem from a cultural problem.
“You know there’s always the elephant in the room. It’s always there, we don’t want to say it … but there is a reason for that. There is a culture that they come from,” said Executive Aid Karen Wallace.
“Do you think some people have a problem with a leader who happens to be African American?” questioned CBS 17 Investigator Felicia Bolton.
“I won’t comment on that … it is what it is. You can make that decision on your very own just based on what you’re seeing and what you’re hearing and the way things are,” replied Baker.
CBS 17 has previously reported that the sheriff promoted a captain who made homophobic comments during a sensitivity training seminar and fired two deputies who reported it.
Baker said the staffing changes were done for the better of the department. He claimed there was a misappropriation of highly ranked officers.
Despite the criticism against him, he said he won’t back down.
“We are moving this office forward with integrity and some of what’s been happening here prior to me becoming sheriff was short of that. There were some people who were used to it. They were benefiting from it and that’s no longer the case,” said Baker.