Republican Dane Co. Sheriff candidate sues sheriff’s office in federal court

The Republican candidate for Dane County sheriff has filed a lawsuit against the office he is hoping to lead.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Republican candidate for Dane County sheriff has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin against the office he is hoping to lead.

Detective Anthony Hamilton is suing the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, which alleges that Hamilton was part of a search that he claimed was likely unlawful. He also said that he was then retaliated against for attempting to expose the search.

Hamilton said he was responding to the Magnuson Grand Hotel in March of 2021 after armed individuals had a standoff in the parking lot. Hamilton and his team searched several rooms of the hotel, during which Hamilton said he believed a warrant was needed.

Hamilton said an investigation into the hotel response was never completed.

The lawsuit claims inappropriate behavior and false claims from a sergeant and lieutenant involved contributed to what Hamilton says led to his removal from the tactical response team and an unpaid suspension.

“What this lawsuit is intended to be is to uncover a systemic changing of reports and falsification of reports by a small group of supervisors within my agency, generally to cover up illegal activities done by staff members. Kalvin Barrett is well aware of it and has decided not to pursue an investigation,” Hamilton said.

Sachin Chheda, spokesperson for the Barrett campaign, said the filing doesn’t have any merit.

“Sheriff Barrett is aware of the new filing and is awaiting guidance from county attorneys,” the campaign’s statement said. “For now, I can say that we don’t believe the filing has any merit, and demonstrates the desperation of a flailing candidate who will throw any mud he can in order to try and gain some political traction.”

The attorney representing the county and Sheriff Barrett in the lawsuit, Mary Nelson, said the allegations had “no legal or factual basis.”

“Regarding Mr. Hamilton’s participation on the Tactical Response Team, he only served in that capacity at the discretion of the Sheriff and could have been removed from the Team at any time,” Nelson said. “In other words, being a member of the Tactical Response Team was a privilege, not a right.”

Nelson also alleged that Hamilton made an unauthorized video using a non-department issued helmet camera, then sent out portions of the video to other sheriff’s office employees without permission.

Hamilton did not provide documents to back up his claims, saying it was because of the ongoing federal lawsuit that he could not share them.