Testimony Begins Before Human Rights Commission In Clark vs McDermott Hearing
Testimony began on Tuesday at the Grant Creek Inn before Human Rights Commission examiner Caroline Holien in the case of Josh Clark vs Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott.
On the first day of a sparsely-attended session, now-retired Sheriff Carl Ibsen testified on behalf of his former Undersheriff, Josh Clark. Counsel for the County of Missoula, Steve Carey, asked Ibsen about a domestic violence case regarding former Deputy Paige Pavalone in 2014.
Ibsen testified that a friend of Pavalone's had called him regarding the incident, and that he responded to the residence 'only as a friend, not a cop'. Carey then probed Ibsen about a report that was published in the Missoulian newspaper from the Department of Criminal Investigations at the Montana Department of Justice by investigator Brant Light, that was critical of Ibsen's behavior in the matter, calling it 'egregious'. Ibsen said no one even attempted to contact him about the investigation.
"One of the things we do as cops is we investigate everything," Ibsen said. "Doesn't matter is you want to talk to the people involved or not, you talk to everybody. By the wording of the letter (from the AG's office) I would assume I was a prime player in it. I was maybe even the prime focus of it. Nobody from the Attorney General's office or the investigators even talked to me. Nobody tried to get hold of me, and I'm not that hard to find."
"Now, if Sheriff McDermott or I or Undersheriff Clark or Undersheriff Johnson had that happen with one of their detectives, there's a really, really good chance that investigator would not have a job anymore. We talk to everyone involved. But, what appears to be the prime player in this whole incident, the number one 'egregious' action guy, was never even consulted. They never made an attempt to get a hold of me."
Testimony will continue through Thursday as the hearing examiner will attempt to determine if Clark's monetary claims due to political discrimination are valid, and if so, how much he is owed by the county. Clark's attorneys have stated a range of between $350,000 to nearly $1 million because Clark claimed he was forced to retire after losing the election to T.J. McDermott in 2014.