/Lawsuit accuses Tunica County sheriff of firing employees in an act of retaliation

Lawsuit accuses Tunica County sheriff of firing employees in an act of retaliation

Two former employees of Sheriff’s Office claim they were fired following a complaint filed in the Northern District of Mississippi Oxford Division on Sept. 14. Norma Turner, a third employee, claims she was fired for supporting the opponent of the sheriff in the last election. Multiple requests from Mississippi Today for comment were not answered by the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office or county officials. According to the complaint, Hamp had a personal and professional relationship in which he was a commander in Tunica County’s sheriff’s department and a constable. The lawsuit also alleges that Bridges was a female officer who was prone to having “questionable” relationships with his subordinate female employees. The complaint says that a female officer who did not want to be named claimed Bridges forced her into a relationship with him. Willie Dunn, a former assistant chief deputy, approached Hamp about the matter. According to the lawsuit Paul Biggins, a former sheriff’s officer commander, changed the shift of the female officer. According to the complaint, Hamp didn’t investigate the matter until the female employee filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to the lawsuit, the female employee spoke with Hamp to discuss the allegations of Bridges’ sexual misconduct toward her. She claimed that he tried to coerce her to have a relationship with Dunn to “accuse him sexual harassment in an attempt to ruin his career as a law enforcement officer.” According to the complaint, Hamp and his investigator falsely accused Dunn and Biggins of sexual harassment. According to the lawsuit, Hamp fired Dunn and Biggins because of the allegations. This was in retaliation for “their reports about the sexual misconduct” and “their attempts to improve the situation.” The suit also states that Hamp filed a complaint with the EEOC. Bridges was also fired. Hamp was also up for reelection during this time. Norma Turner (16-year old employee of the sheriff’s office) claims in the complaint she was fired because she supported the “rival candidate” as well as “her services weren’t needed anymore.” Bridges was rehired last month according to a local Memphis television station. Plaintiffs Dunn, Biggins, and Turner are seeking back compensation for lost benefits and punitive damages. They also seek reinstatement or the alternative front payment for gender discrimination. This is not the first time that the Sheriff’s Office has been required to defend itself in court. Vincent Morgan, a bails bondsman with Interstate Bail Bond Company sued Hamp and Reginald Boykin last year for alleged discrimination in employment. Morgan claimed that his “nepotism” was a factor in his inability to do business in the county. He also claimed that Hamp, Boykin and Boykin “steered him away from business and ultimately removed him from the approved bonding agents list,” according to the Commercial Appeal. The court ordered that the suit be dismissed with prejudice in June due to an undisclosed settlement. The case can still be reopened if the settlement is not reached. The two previous sheriffs were involved in lawsuits which led to their indictment and removal from office. Hamp has been in law enforcement in Tunica County for more than 20 years. In December 2003, he was elected the first sheriff.