A Democratic state lawmaker in Virginia claims a Republican sheriff retaliated against her by firing her husband after she shared video of one of his deputies allegedly participating in the Capitol insurrection.
State Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler said Tuesday she recently informed Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle about a video that appears to show one of his deputies at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The video had been shared with Convirs-Fowler by a concerned citizen.
"I have been a target to some of these extremist(s), so I let (Stolle) know hoping he would help," Convirs-Fowler wrote on Twitter. "Did Stolle do anything? Yes! He fired my husband this morning."
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Convirs-Fowler said her husband had been working for the sheriff's office for nearly 15 years.
"A few hours later, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office shot back in a comment on the delegate’s tweet, denying that her husband had been fired or that the sheriff’s office’s actions had anything to do with the Capitol riot," the newspaper reported. "Stolle fired back in a comment, too, accusing Convirs-Fowler of lying."
In a statement, the sheriff's office said Convirs-Fowler's husband, Sgt. W.D. Fowler, had merely been placed on "administrative leave" until the end of the year — when his "term" expires. Sheriff Stolle also notified Sgt. Fowler that he would not be appointed to a new four-year term in 2022.
"In the Commonwealth of Virginia, all sheriffs' office personally are constitutional appointees who serve at the pleasure of the elected sheriff in their jurisdiction," according to the sheriff's office's statement. "Sheriffs can terminate an appointment at any time."
Stolle also claimed that he had spoken with the FBI and "ensured no one of my staff broke any law."
"The officials went back and forth on Twitter into the evening, with Convirs-Fowler posting screenshots of texts between herself and Stolle, alleging that he hasn’t met with her to discuss the video despite her requests," the newspaper reported.
In one tweet, Convirs-Fowler alleged that the deputy shown in the video is a member of the Three Percenters militia group, adding that she's particularly concerned because he is assigned to train other law enforcement officers.
After the sheriff accused Convirs-Fowler of a "political stunt," she responded: "How would I be pulling a stunt? I didn’t know you were ‘firing’ him? He didn’t know he had to meet with you until yesterday afternoon. I mean there’s a paper trail and documentation so I’m not sure you realize how obvious this is to everyone."
"It must be a coincidence that my husband was put on 'administrative leave' this morning and told that he would NOT be reappointed on 1/1/22 after almost 15 years with the department," she added. "I thought the (sheriff's office) was short staffed? Even lowering the hiring age recently?"
"I still haven’t been able to share the video and information with (Stolle)," she wrote. "The Deputy that was at the Capitol has extremist stuff all over his social media. ... I don’t feel safe and I even expressed that to (Stolle)."
A concerned citizen shared a video with me of a @VBSO Deputy at the Capitol on January 6. I have been a target to some of these extremist, so I let our Sheriff @kenstolle know hoping he would help. Did Stolle do anything? Yes! He fired my husband this morning. \n#detoxVBpic.twitter.com/vxg038y2JU— Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (@Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler) 1638289857
1/3 A concerned citizen sent me a video of a @VBSO Deputy at the Capitol on January 6th. I reached out to Sheriff @kenstolle to give him a heads up. Yesterday was my last text and I left him a voicemail around 3:30. Full text thread below.pic.twitter.com/NnkwYx2Kx9— Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (@Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler) 1638313526