A St. Louis sheriff’s deputy and his colleague have been fired by the department after they worked a security detail for Rep. Cori Bush, who has openly advocated for defunding the police. Now one of the men is claiming his firing was politically motivated.
The Associated Press reports that deputies Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson were fired in July after they were spotted in surveillance footage in plain clothes protecting the Missouri Democrat while she was on a tour of the city’s jails with St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.
Bush has faced backlash from conservatives for her support for defunding police, rhetoric that only heated up after federal filings showed that the first-term congresswoman spent nearly $70,000 in campaign funds on private security in less than three months in office.
Jackson told KMOV-TV that he believes his termination was “unfair and unjust.” “You let us go, but you still have a plethora of individuals doing that, but you don’t say anything,” he added.
The former deputy hinted that his firing has something to do with the “client we worked for” and because they “didn’t push the agenda of the sheriff on the client.” When asked about licenses, Jackson stated that “You do not need a security license to do executive protection because if I hire you to protect me, I am paying you out of pocket.” He added, “You don’t need a license for that.”
However, Sheriff Vernon Betts told reporters that Jackson and Thompson’s dismissal had nothing to do with Bush. “I fired them for not following proper procedures for working secondary,” he added. “So, they just happened to be working for Cori Bush. Doing what they did, they would have gotten fired no matter who they were working for.”
On Friday, Aug. 13, Betts confirmed that the two men had been fired last month, noting that they were already cautioned that they needed to fill out the proper documentation concerning their second jobs.
The St. Louis Police Department says the former deputies’ licenses cover contracted properties but not personal protection. Taking up a second job is not an uncommon practice among deputies. Betts stated that of the 160 deputies, roughly 150 of them moonlight in other jobs, but with permission. The sheriff claims the process ensures that officers’ second jobs do not interfere with their regular duties.
Several outlets reported that Bush has yet to give a definitive answer as to why she spends what appears to be an excessive amount of money on private security while still championing to decrease funding from law enforcement. However, last month she shared with the public some of the death threats she’s received since taking office, seemingly one reason behind her decision to make her safety a top priority.