Madison County Sheriff's Department sued for discrimination - - Jackson, MS

Madison County Sheriff's Department sued for discrimination

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A national guardsman who wanted to serve the people of Madison County claims he was denied a job with the sheriff's department because of his service to the country. And the patrolman who blew the whistle was fired from the Madison County Sheriff's Department. Now, both men have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the department in U-S District Court.

Rodney Thompson served his country twice in Desert Storm and Iraq. He has 22-years in the military and 10-years of law enforcement experience. By all accounts, he was a shoo-in for a patrolman job with the Madison County Sheriff's department, but he was overlooked. His friend, patrolman Josh Hobbs, wanted to know why and did something, he claims in this lawsuit, cost him his job.

Hobbs secretly recorded this conversation with Eddie Belvedresi, in which the deputy chief admits that it's Rodney Thompson's military career standing in the way of a job with the Madison County Sheriff's Department.

On the recording, Belvedresi said, "I mean, it really puts that shift in a bind, whichever one he's on, you know. And like I told you, you know, I don't want him to know that because I appreciate what he does but.."

Belvedresi even goes on to make this shocking statement: "You know, I don't...I'm sure and I've got enough sense to realize that if he found that out and brought a suit against us, he'd probably win for not hiring him, you know?"

"So, it's really appalling not only that it was done against these individuals, but he knew it was against the law.", said Nick Norris who represents Thompson and Hobbs.

Nick Norris, who filed the federal suit in behalf of Thompson and Hobbs, says Hobbs just wants his job back and Thompson just wants a job.

Norris said, "They have brought this, not just seeking damages, but to make a point...that this is wrong."

WLBT contacted Belvedresi for comment on the lawsuit. He said he heard about it, but hasn't seen it. The deputy chief told me, -quote- "We fired that employee." referring to Josh Hobbs.

Asked if Hobbs was a good employee, Belvedresi replied, "Wouldn't have fired him...that's all I want to say."

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