Fired jailer sues Alcorn County

Alcorn StockBy Lena Mitchell

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

CORINTH – Alcorn County faces a lawsuit filed in federal court this week on behalf of a former employee of the Alcorn County Regional Jail.

In the complaint, Dennis Moss claims he was terminated from his job as a jailer after he refused to participate in the beating of an inmate on Dec. 13, 2012.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen on Monday.

“The defendant doesn’t have notice of the lawsuit yet but we notified Alcorn County in February of our intent to file a claim in state court,” said Tupelo attorney Shane McLaughlin, who represents Moss.

According to Moss’ statement, two other corrections officers were involved in an altercation with inmate Christopher Gladney, whom they subdued and were moving to a segregation cell.

Moss said he left inmate Gladney, restrained by an arm-bar, with the two officers while he went to get a key and returned to find Gladney immobilized on the floor while the two officers were hitting him in the head and punching him in the ribs.

The other two officers, Moss said, encouraged him to join in beating the inmate, but he would not. Moss said he subsequently was fired for not participating in the beating.

In the complaint, which is only one side of a legal argument, Moss accuses his employer – Alcorn County, of First Amendment retaliation in using his free speech rights, and violating Mississippi public policy by terminating his employment for refusing to engage in the criminally illegal act of beating the inmate.

He requests a jury trial and seeks reimbursement of lost wages, damages for mental anxiety and emotional distress, reinstatement or front-pay, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

lena.mitchell@journalinc.com