Central Texas County And New Sheriff Named In Federal Lawsuit

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email
Newly elected McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and McLennan County both are named as defendants in a federal lawsuit that charges McNamara illegally fired several sheriff

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara taking the oath of office earlier this month. (File)

WACO (January 10, 2013)-A group of six former McLennan County sheriff's deputies has filed a lawsuit in federal court that alleges their First Amendment rights were violated when they were fired.

Dallas attorney Don Tittle filed the suit late Wednesday afternoon in federal district court in Waco.

The complaint, obtained Thursday by News 10, lists Jimmie Channon, W. Derrick Johnson, William I. McKamey, Anthony W. McRae, J.C. Riggs and Norman Wade as plaintiffs and Sheriff Parnell McNamara and McLennan County as defendants.

In the complaint Tittle says the plaintiffs were denied their right to free speech and claims they were terminated from employment at the sheriff's office solely because they supported McNamara's primary opponent for the sheriff's job.

The lawsuit claim states all the plaintiffs openly campaigned for Randy Plemons, who McNamara defeated in the GOP Primary for the right to run for the job in the general election, which McNamara also won.

The lawsuit claim points out that combined the plaintiffs had more than 114 years experience in law enforcement and all had been given excellent job reviews.

"The unprecedented firings were obvious political retaliation," the claim states.

Further, the claim states that McNamara's actions "caused past and future economic damage to each plaintiff in the form of lost wages and benefits. Also each plaintiff has sustained damage to his reputation, ability to earn a living and standing in the community, and will continue to be so damaged in the future."

News 10 tried several times to reach both McNamara and McLennan County's civil attorney but was unable to do so Thursday.

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