BY DOMINIC COLETTI
Democrat Gerald Baker has unseated four-term incumbent Donnie Harrison in the race for Wake County Sheriff. Harrison has been relatively popular in recent years, making his deputy’s victory surprising.
In this most recent term, Wake County began partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The county can transfer detainees to federal custody if they are suspected to be in the United States illegally. Harrison described the policy as being essential to public safety, while Baker said he was concerned the program tears families apart. The American Civil Liberties Union, while not endorsing any candidate, mentioned Baker’s opposition to what it considered an inhumane policy.
The sheriff’s race was seen by some as a referendum on Harrison’s ICE policy in Wake County; however, Rep. George Holding, who endorsed the policy, won his race against Linda Coleman.
Police brutality also played a role in Harrison’s downfall. In April, a Wake County deputy loosed a dog on a Raleigh man. Kyron Dwain Hinton suffered serious injuries at the hands of a Wake County Deputy and two Highway Patrol Officers in the incident. The Deputy is still on administrative leave and Hinton has sued the sheriff’s office over the incident.