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Corrections Officer Files Discrimination Lawsuit

Corrections Officer Files Discrimination Lawsuit


A former corrections officer in Mississippi filed a federal lawsuit Monday charging he was fired from his job after supervisors learned he was gay during their response to his domestic violence complaint.

According to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Andre D. Cooley, 25, filed the suit requesting unspecified damages from the Forest County sheriff's department and three of its employees including corrections chief Charles Bolton. Cooley also seeks punitive damages, his reinstatement, and the implementation of policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of Cooley, said it was the first of its kind in Mississippi.

The Clarion-Ledger reports that the incidents pertaining to the lawsuit began when Cooley placed an emergency call last June seeking help with a domestic disturbance.

"A Hattiesburg Police Department report lists Cooley as the victim and describes his male companion as the assailant," reports the newspaper. "The complaint states Bolton also responded to the call and ordered Cooley to report to his immediate supervisor before returning to work after learning of the two men's relationship."

Sheriff Billy McGee said that Cooley's involvement in a domestic disturbance that drew police spoke poorly of someone in law enforcement and refused to comment on Cooley's sexual orientation. In his complaint, Cooley alleges that Staff Sgt. Donnell Brannon, a jail employee, told coworkers that Cooley was fired because he "turned out to be a faggot."

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