Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway stands to defend two racial discrimination lawsuits that were recently filed in federal court.
The lawsuits were filed by a current Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy and a deputy who left for another agency. Both lawsuits were filed in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division.
On November 23, 2023, Jaymz Bagby filed a four-count racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against Pettway and chief deputy Nashonda Howard, Sgt. Ali Daniels, and deputy Constance Echols.
Bagby, a white male, said his problems started a year after being hired when he was put under a criminal investigation in connection to an incident a jail inmate later admitted he made up.
The lawsuit states the parties have a history of discrimination and conspired to retaliate against him "despite there being no corroborating evidence to support the allegations being made" against Bagby.
He was polygraphed and underwent a disciplinary hearing. During the hearing, Bagby presented a statement from the inmate exonerating him from having a part in the incident. Another deputy undergoing the disciplinary hearing for the same incident was given two days' suspension, but Bagby was given 15 days. According to the lawsuit, Bagby believes he was mistreated because he is white.
He said he believes there is a history of favoritism and looking the other way when it comes to discipline among black employees.
Bagby left the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for another agency.
Deputy Kristopher Adams filed The second lawsuit on December 28, 2023.
According to the lawsuit, Adams claimed Pettway promoted a less experienced, less qualified black deputy to an investigator position he applied for and was qualified for. The lawsuit states that the deputy who got the job did not go through the process to be hired.
After he filed a grievance, he said things got worse. After he reported being treated poorly by a magistrate, he said he was reassigned to a less desirable position, costing him pay and opportunity.
Correction from previous version: Adams is still employed with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
Attorney Scott Morro is representing both Plaintiffs.
They are both asking for a declaratory judgment ordering back pay, interest, benefits, damages, compensatory damages and legal fees.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Another lawsuit filed by Curtis McCune alleging discrimination is still in litigation. Morro also represents McCune.
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