The longtime sheriff of Jackson County, Miss., is accused of using his office for personal gain and retaliation. Sheriff Mike Byrd was indictment Friday on 31 counts including embezzlement, extortion, and even ordering a female deputy to give him sexual favors.
Among other charges, Byrd faces 10 counts of embezzlement, and 10 counts of fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of perjury, according to WKRG-TV.
One of the extortion charges includes telling a female deputy that he would give her a “bad recommendation to other law enforcement agencies” if she wouldn’t perform sexual acts with him and left the department. When the deputy refused, she was barred from moving to another work station in retaliation.
Byrd is also accused of pursuing murder charges although the investigating detective thought the suspect was innocent. Byrd allegedly pressuring the detective into delivering an arrest warrant in 2007. Authorities believe he did this because he was up for reelection and wanted to be able to say that there were no unsolved murders in the county at that time.
Byrd is a Republican currently in his fourth term of office. Prosecutors say he has used his position to enhance his reelection chances by targeting personal and political opponents.
He allegedly began snooping on the employees of a Mexican restaurant, after they refused to accept a check from him as payment for a meal. Detectives were sent to the restaurant to conduct surveillance.
Jackson County judges recused themselves, therefore the Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Judge William F. Coleman, a retired Hinds County Circuit Judge, to preside over the case.