New developments in the case of Andre Cooley, the former Forrest County, Mississippi Sheriff's Department officer who was fired after supervisors discovered he was a "faggot." Cooley said one of his supervisors discovered he was gay when they responded to a 911 call he placed in June after his boyfriend became violent.
ACLU Mississippi has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cooley and writes in its complaint:
" Upon learning that Mr. Cooley was gay and in a same-sex relationship, Chief Charles Bolton immediately told Mr. Cooley not to come back to work before reporting to his immediate supervisor. When he did report to his supervisor, Mr. Cooley was told he was suspended indefinitely. The next day, Defendant Donnell Brannon, Staff Sergeant of Jail Operations, informed Mr. Cooley that the Sheriff’s Department had terminated him because of 'the type of situation' in which Mr. Cooley had been involved. Mr. Cooley asked Staff Sergeant Brannon whether he was being fired because he is gay. After a brief pause, Staff Sergeant Brannon responded, 'Yes.' On information and belief, Staff Sergeant Brannon subsequently told Mr. Cooley’s co-workers that 'Cooley was fired because he turned out to be a faggot.'"
The Forrest County Sheriff has responded to the ACLU complaint and says they did absolutely nothing wrong—wait for it—because "no federal or state law exists in regard to firings over sexual orientation," reports the Clarion Ledger.
"The sheriff's department also argued in an answer to the lawsuit that Cooley was an at-will employee who worked 'solely at the pleasure of the Forrest County Sheriff.' Cooley's suit seeks punitive damages, court costs, attorney fees and an injunction reinstating him as a corrections officer. Bear Atwood, ACLU Mississippi legal director, said a significant body of case law exists that protects public workers. 'What it fails to do is give any legitimate reason why he would've been fired,' she said of the response filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. 'It basically says that it would have been OK to fire him because he's gay.'
"Defense attorney Jim K. Dukes Jr. told the Hattiesburg American that was not the case. 'We feel the answer speaks for itself, and we feel we had justified grounds for his termination that had nothing to do with his sexual orientation,' Dukes said." ... The department's answer filed Friday requested a non-jury trial."
And yet another example of why we need the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
You May Have Missed ...
Miss. Corrections Officer Fired, "He Turned Out to Be a Faggot"