Shelby County deputy sues the sheriff - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby County deputy sues the sheriff

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A Shelby County deputy is suing the sheriff. He claims the sheriff's political race is the reason he was attacked by another deputy.

According to the lawsuit, when Bill Oldham ran for sheriff, the rank and file was divided with those who supported Oldham, who is a republican, and those who supported Randy Wade, a democrat.

Deputy Robert Jewell supported the opponent who lost.

The rift that escalated into this current lawsuit even caught the attention of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, who was the sheriff in 2010.

"Politics has no place in the work place," said Luttrell.

Back then, investigators would only say that former Lieutenant Scott Wright choked Deputy Robert Jewell.

The court filing now reveals additional details about the scuffle. It says Jewell had above satisfactory standing before openly supporting Democrat Randy Wade for sheriff, who lost the election.

Jewell's court filing claims Lieutenant Wright grabbed him around the neck, pushed him up against the wall, and said he "better vote Republican".

Both were put on administrative leave.

"They violated a very strict directive I issued," said Luttrell.

Jewell's lawsuit now reveals that he filed a complaint to the Office of Special Council that Oldham did not resign as a chief deputy when he ran for office, which is required by law. Oldham resigned and then won the sheriff's race.

Jewell says he was transferred to another unit and subjected to "harassment, abuse and a hostile work environment" and was unjustifiably relieved of duty and ordered to undergo counseling.

Jewell's lawsuit says he got unjustifiably low performance evaluations and was demoted, which meant he lost opportunities for specialized training, overtime, his take-home car, and work cell phone.

No one in the case would talk on camera. It is still in limbo.

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