Sheriff’s major under investigation

A sheriff’s office official said the internal investigation is “ongoing” and said Sheriff Phil Plummer wouldn’t comment about the allegations or about a recording purported to be Landis talking about a Montgomery County Jail corrections officer.

Corrections officers Jerrid Campbell and Russell Johnson, who are both black, told this news organization that the discriminatory culture among employees is not completely gone after a racist text message scandal led to the firings of two employees.

Campbell and Johnson both said Landis was recorded during a jail supervisor meeting several months ago stating that Campbell should “go back to his thug life.”

Both corrections officers recently consulted with attorney Michael Wright, who said he would not take them as clients until he had conducted his own investigation.

“There have been allegations made and I’m confirming all the evidence and making sure those allegations are in fact true, viable and actionable against the sheriff’s department,” Wright said Monday. “There are allegations of some racially inflammatory statements.”

Wright said the corrections officers have filed internal complaints and that there are allegations of “ongoing abuse and retaliation.”

Landis began as a corrections officer assigned to the county jail in 1989. He was promoted to deputy in 1994 and became a detective in 1999, according to the sheriff’s website. Landis was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and major in 2009. Landis also had been chief deputy, but was demoted back to major in January 2013.

The corrections officers said they’ve filed complaints against other command staff members, and that they both have been disciplined for trumped-up infractions and that there are racial overtones in several situations.

“We have other evidence of how corrupt this whole thing is,” Campbell said.

Johnson mentioned how Landis had complimented Campbell in the meeting for having “one of the highest scores of the corrections test ever.”

“So he couldn’t possibly be talking about his intellect,” Johnson said. “So when he mentions going back to his thug life, that would only be the perception of someone who thinks that black people live thug lives.”

Johnson added that he thinks Plummer is “trying his best to do the right thing for the agency, for the organization and for the community.”

“However, the people that he has in charge over there are not revealing to him the truth. And they are not telling him everything. And so when they have their command staff meeting, he is given misleading information until recently, when it was time for me to blow the whistle.”