Republicans, Democrats call on Grismore to drop out of race for sheriff

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 4:53 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - The only candidate for Franklin County sheriff is being asked to drop out of the race by both political parties. It comes after the release of a video showing Capt. John Grismore assaulting a handcuffed prisoner. Now, both parties are condemning his use of force against a man in custody and they want him to take his name off the November ballot.

The day after Capt. John Grismore won the nomination for both the Republican and Democratic parties for Franklin County sheriff, the department shared a video of Grismore allegedly assaulting someone in custody and placed him on administrative leave.

A criminal investigation headed by the Vermont State Police is ongoing and Grismore has not been charged with a crime.

He is still running for sheriff.

“Behavior that is not acceptable for a law enforcement officer and the county committee did not feel it was appropriate for him to stand as position as sheriff,” said Joe Luneau, the chair of the Franklin County Republican Committee.

Luneau says the committee is calling on Grismore to withdraw his candidacy.

Luneau says if Grismore resigns, the committee would appoint another GOP nominee to run for sheriff and says they’ve already been contacted by several people.

If Grismore does not withdraw his candidacy by the state deadline on Friday, Luneau says the party would look to support a write-in candidate.

“So that would really take a concerted effort from a lot of people,” Luneau said.

Grismore ran unopposed in the primary, garnering several thousand Republican votes and several hundred Democrat write-in votes, enough to win the nomination for both parties.

The Franklin County Democratic Committee is also calling for Grismore to withdraw and decline the nomination. In a statement, chair Zach Scheffler wrote, in part, “In light of the video that has surfaced depicting Grismore violently kicking a handcuffed suspect, he cannot continue to credibly campaign for this office.”

But if Grismore does not drop out, his name will be the only one on the ballot in November.

I spoke to voters in Franklin County to get their thoughts.

“I wouldn’t want to vote for him after what he did, so I would definitely like to see someone else on the ballot for sure,” said Carol Lumbra of Fairfield.

Some voters didn’t know about the situation. But many told me on and off camera that they have a hard time supporting Grismore’s candidacy after seeing the video.

“We all saw the video on how he treated the guy. Do we really want him being sheriff if he can’t control his anger?” said Amelia Phillips of St. Albans.

“I mean I hope between now and then something comes out where he explains himself a little more and gives us some more insight into what was happening, but we definitely want to make sure a person in his position makes us feel comfortable in town,” said A.J. Bugby of St. Albans.

The criminal investigation is still underway. Grismore has not been charged with any criminal offense as of now. If is charged, it’s unclear how it would impact his run for sheriff, if at all.

I reached out to Grismore for comment but did not hear back before this story was published.

Related Story:

Police investigating Vermont sheriff’s captain for alleged assault on detainee

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