Former Bradley County Court Officer Says He Was Fired For Supporting Wrong Sheriff Candidate

Monday, January 7, 2013

A former Bradley County court officer says in a Federal Court lawsuit that he was fired because he supported the wrong sheriff candidate.

Dallas Longwith is suing Bradley County, the Bradley County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Jim Ruth.

He asked $1 million compensatory damages and $500,000 punitive damages.

The suit says Mr. Longwith was the court officer for Chancellor Jerri Bryant. It says he supported Steve Lawson instead of Jim Ruth in the sheriff's election and that those who did so were demoted or terminated.

He said he was fired after a former jail inmate reported that he had been cutting grass at his home in his underwear and was naked when he answered the door at his home. He said the charge was "ridiculous" that he would do so in December. He said he was wearing a pair of regular shorts made of flannel cotton and with an orange and white plaid design.

The suit says Rep. Eric Watson supported Sheriff Ruth, but was pushed out of the sheriff's office because it was feared he will run for sheriff in 2014. Mr. Longwith said it was known that he will support Rep. Watson should he run for sheriff.

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