A deputy of South Carolina's largest sheriff's office has been stripped of her badge, uniform, and guns after expressing a desire to run for her boss' job. Al Cannon, 73, has been sheriff of Charleston County since 1988 and intends to remain in the job after the November election. While state law prevents intimidation or job loss based on "the exercise of political rights," he argues Kristin Graziano's hope of nabbing the same position—to "instill fairness and transparency," according to her campaign website—shows an "inherent and irreconcilable conflict of interest" as sheriffs can be held personally liable for a deputy's actions, per the Post and Courier. "You are stating that my policies are not fair or accountable. That statement alone undermines my programs and policies," he tells Graziano, an 18-year veteran of the office, in a letter.
But 52-year-old Graziano, who has yet to file the necessary paperwork but plans to run as a Democrat, says she has no plans to undermine Cannon, a Republican. She says she was shocked to be placed on leave Tuesday in a move that will leave her without income once her vacation time runs out in three months. "Just because somebody disagrees with me that happens to be my boss doesn't mean I stop serving my community," she says. "It doesn't mean I stop pushing the mission that I swore to do." County GOP chair Maurice Washington appeared to side with Graziano, saying Cannon made "a wrong-headed decision" that "discourages individuals who have every right to seek public office without fear of retribution." (Read more South Carolina stories.)