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Leflore County Emergency Management Director Fred Randle sues county, sheriff department

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5:40 pm News Flash Archive

Emergency Management Director Fred Randle filed suit in federal district court October 19, 2018 against Leflore County, the Sheriff's Department, and an unknown "Defendant X" for firing him from his long-time job as a deputy sheriff.

Randle, who is represented by prominent civil rights attorney Jim Waide of Tupelo, claims he was fired from his job as a deputy sheriff after he made public comments at an anti-crime forum held in May 2018.

Randle's lawsuit may be viewed here: Fred Randle complaint against Leflore County, et al.

Randle claims that pressure was put on the Sheriff by as-yet unknown persons (named as "Defendant X") to fire him from his longtime job as a deputy sheriff. The lawsuit will be amended to name this person or persons once discovery reveals the identity.

Randle says that the pressure came against comments he made at the May 17, 2018 public forum at the Civic Center, convened to address the seven murders of Leflore County youth that had taken place in 2018 up to that time.

The Greenwood Commonwealth quoted Randle as telling the crowd, "I wasn't chosen to be up here, but I live here. I'm a victim. My step-son was killed.... Do you see them here? The ones that asked for your vote?" He urged the parents to "call the police" if they see their kids engaged in criminal activity, "before they hurt someone else's child." He urged the crowd not to blame law enforcement, that when we do that "we're fussing at the wrong people."

Randle claimed that two days after the event, the Sheriff told him that the county supervisors had "a problem" with his public comments, and that he was wearing "too many hats" since he was serving as a part-time Emergency Management director.

Randle wrote a letter to the editor in which he clarified that he was not criticizing any public officials.

But on May 31, the Sheriff informed Randle that the county wished to hire him full-time as Emergency Management Director and that he should resign from his position as deputy sheriff. Randle refused, stating that he loved law enforcement.

Randle claims that the Sheriff then fired him.

Randle claims that he was appointed full-time Emergency Management Director, but that in so doing he was forced to take a pay cut, and was stripped of his long-time, cherished law enforcement duties.

Randle claims that he was fired because he expressed his opinion publicly, and that this was a denial of his First Amendment free speech rights.

Randle states that the Sheriff never named the person or persons who wanted Randle fired. Randle is suing for punitive damages against whoever that turns out to be.

Randle is also asking for lost income, mental anxiety and distress, reinstatement as deputy sheriff, and legal costs and attorney fees.

This is not the first lawsuit involving the Emergency Management Director. In 2016, the county settled a lawsuit brought by Troy Brown, who was fired as Emergency Management Director after he made public remarks that reflected poorly on then County Administrator Sam Abraham. For TTC coverage of that lawsuit, see here: Troy Brown Suit against the County Settled

At this time, neither the county nor the sheriff's department has filed any response to Randle's lawsuit.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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