Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher has asked the Sussex County Council for a budget increase. He didn’t get everything on his list. Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher has asked Sussex County for his deputies to get police training. He was told no. Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher has no arresting powers. Wednesday evening Sussex County Sheriff went to the Georgetown Police Department and filed assault charges against Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips claiming that the Councilman “threw a notepad at him and then kicked him in the groin”.
Video NSFW and not an accurate representation of the event, but I felt it was needed.
It seems the two were having a meeting to discuss the issues between them for the good of the Republican party. Well that worked.
Get background on the event here.
All joking aside, Sheriff Jeff Christopher sent the following letter to WGMD.
STATEMENT BY SHERIFF CHRISTOPHER:
My name is Jeff Christopher, your Sussex County Sheriff. Yesterday, October 26, at approximately 4:30 PM while attending a meeting in Georgetown, I became a victim of an unprovoked criminal assault while on duty and in full uniform. The perpetrator is a sitting member of the Sussex County Council.
My first thoughts were to take the perpetrator into custody as that is the duty of any Law Enforcement Officer who witnesses or is a victim him/herself of an assault. However the injury that I had sustained to my left eye and groin prevented me from carrying out any further response to the matter at that time. A short time later, I contacted the Georgetown Police Department to report the incident. After the occurrence, one of the witnesses to the event called and checked on my condition and congratulated me on using what he called “extreme constraint” in this matter. I felt that discretion of constraint was the better avenue to take. I want the people to know that I have full trust and confidence that a proper and just investigation will be conducted and that the appropriate outcome will prevail. As you know, I am a strong proponent of anti-crime measures and I feel that crime must not be tolerated to any degree. This, in order, to ensure a safer community for everyone. The people deserve a Sheriff who will not tolerate any crime ,especially violent crime and I will continue to do all I can to prevent crime in our community.
Jeff Christopher, Sheriff of Sussex County
Elected officials are claiming that the behavior of Jeff Christopher was childish, almost like tattling. Also under scrutiny is Vance Phillips for resorting to physical violence and kicking a man in uniform in his groin (allegedly). It is up to the Attorney General to decide if there is enough evidence in this case to make an arrest. Vance Phillips is remaining quiet while Jeff Christopher is doing some speaking to the press.
One email states that Councilman Vance Phillips used the line that “those were fighting words”! The same email may be viewed here and also speculates on Councilman Vance Phillips losing his position over this.
Apparently, according to the Sheriff, Councilman Vance Phillips, a former state GOP Vice Chairman, former manager of the Glen Urquhart campaign for US Senate, and a long term Sussex County Councilman-well known for his liberal views on land use in Sussex, was agitated by a remark that Christopher made during a discussion at the Sussex GOP headquarters. Sheriff Christopher told Phillips that “he didn’t respect the Delaware Constitution” which states that the Sheriff is the Conservator of the Peace. Phillips (according to Christopher) apparently became enraged, saying that “those were fighting words” and then threw a notebook, hitting Sheriff Christopher in the eye. He then kicked Christopher in the groin. There were two witnesses to this event from the information I have obtained.
Regardless of the speculation and outcome the next time that Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher submits a budget before the Sussex County Council, I wonder if Councilman Vance Phillips will recuse himself.
*oh to have been a fly on the wall*