Former deputy files lawsuit against sheriff, county - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former deputy files lawsuit against sheriff, county

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Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

DUNLAP, SEQUATCHIE COUNTY (WRCB) - A fired Sequatchie County deputy plans on taking the county and the sheriff to court. He says his First Amendment rights were violated.

Jarred Dishman supported Tom Mahoney to replace Hitchcock as sheriff. When Hitchcock won the election, Dishman lost his job.

Dishman's attorney Randy Larramore said, "when Mr. Mahoney did not win, Mr. Dishman suffered the retaliation of the then-surviving sheriff."

All claims that Larramore says he has evidence to prove, "Mr. Dishman was contacted the night of the election, from the celebration party. So, Mr. Dishman could hear the celebration in the background, and he was told he was terminated and given no reason what so ever."

According to documents, Deputy Dishman was spotted wearing a Mahoney for sheriff shirt while voting.

Dishman's attorney says he didn't break any policy, "a fundamental tenant to our system is freedom of speech, freedom of political association, and the right, and some would argue the duty, to speak ones mind about public interest. You do not lose that protection because you're a public employee."

Wednesday, Sheriff Hitchcock spoke with Channel 3, he simply said "his dismissal had nothing at all to do with the election," and "his dismissal papers will show why."

The sheriff refused to share these public records with Channel 3.

The lawsuit also states that one day after the election, Dishman was informed by a Sequatchie Chief Deputy that the real reason he'd been fired was for wearing a Mahoney shirt.

An argument Larramore is planning to use if the case hits the courtroom.

Larramore added, "you're hoping that the people in the know will stand up and speak the truth. The potential of the case depends on people in the know, speaking the truth."

Larramore also said that he hopes this can get resolved as soon as possible. His client wants to remain in the law enforcement field.

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