FREDERICK COUNTY, MD – Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, Maryland was highly critical this week of Councilman Kai Hagen after he said the county official interfered with a traffic stop last week that one of his deputies was conducting because the driver was Black, reports say, leading to the two men arguing about the matter on a local radio talk show.
Jenkins wrote an email to County Executive Jan Gardner and the council leadership on Wednesday, complaining that Hagen’s action on the day in question potentially put lives at risk.
“The actions of Councilman Hagen were unlawful, totally inappropriate, unnecessary, and created both an officer safety issue and traffic safety issue,” he said. “His actions created an unnecessary risk to himself, my deputy and other motorists. He demonstrated a complete disregard for the safety of anyone involved, and disregard for the law.”
Jenkins noted in his complaint email that on June 20, a deputy had pulled a Black motorist over due to his vehicle “bearing a trailer tag.”
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“As the deputy was communicating with the vehicle driver requesting license, registration and related documents he noticed and realized that a silver four-door sedan had stopped in the southbound lane of Rt. 806 parallel to his traffic stop,” Jenkins said.
The sedan belonged to Hagen, who said during a radio interview Wednesday that he felt the need to get involved in the traffic stop when he noticed that the driver who had been pulled over was Black.
“My wife and I were driving up Route 15,” Hagen said. “We noticed that a deputy was pulling over a car that wasn’t speeding, so we didn’t know what that was all about, and obviously it could be a lot of different things. And as we drove past… we noticed that it was a Black driver. I was polite to him, and we left as soon as one very basic question was answered.”
However, Jenkins told a different story in his email regarding the extent of the Councilman’s involvement in the traffic stop, going so far as to call it “obstruction.”
“The deputy had to divert his attention from the stop to the silver vehicle when he heard the male driver say, ‘I’m going to sit here until you’re done to insure this is a safe stop’ (something close),” Jenkins said. “The deputy looked and immediately recognized the driver as Councilman Kai Hagen.”
The deputy told Hagen to leave because his car, which was in the road, was blocking traffic; however, Hagen refused to leave, Jenkins said, and instead backed his sedan onto the shoulder. He would later leave when the driver who had been pulled over – who had reportedly remarked to the deputy that Hagen’s actions were “the weirdest thing” – informed him that nothing was wrong. The driver was not ticketed, and received only two warnings.
“This was a highly unusual situation creating a number of unnecessary risks during the stop,” Jenkins concluded.
Jenkins and Hagen later got into a heated exchange during a radio interview on the same day the email complaint was sent to the County Executive; Jenkins called Hagen’s interference in the traffic stop “outrageous.”
“Hagen, you had absolutely no business to interfere with the lawful duties of a deputy,” he said. “He made a traffic stop based on a violation, a clear violation. It was none of your concern to start with.”
Hagen defended his actions, claiming that law enforcement throughout the country is rife with racism.
“You don’t believe that there’s any such thing as systemic racism in — not only Frederick County but law enforcement in the United States,” Hagen said.
“That’s correct. I do not. If there’s a racist on the line, it’s you, my friend,” Jenkins responded. “This is the action of the progressive left to drive more of a wedge between law enforcement and the public we serve. He is clearly opposed to any law enforcement.”