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4 fired Fayette jail workers file appeals over ouster

Four Fayette County Detention Center correction officers who were fired by the city after being charged with beating inmates and then covering it up are challenging their terminations.

Urban County Government officials notified Sgt. John McQueen, Cpl. Clarence McCoy, Sgt. Anthony Estep and Lt. Kristine Lafoe in August that they were being terminated.

Joey McCarty, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 3372, said the four have appealed the city's decision to fire them.

The city had placed the four on administrative leave with pay after they were indicted in June on abuse and other charges. The alleged abuse involved six inmates in 2006. Also charged was former officer Scott Tyree, who had moved to the city's water quality division before the June indictment.

After the four officers were indicted, they were relieved of their law enforcement duties, which meant they could no longer be correction officers, said Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Mayor Jim Newberry. The city moved to terminate the officers in late August.

Because Tyree does not work for the jail anymore and has no law enforcement duties, he can still work for the city's water quality division, Straub said.

McCarty said the four should not have been fired because they have not been convicted. "Our position is that they have been indicted, but it has not been adjudicated in a court of law," McCarty said.

Each faces various counts related to allegedly harming inmates and then writing bogus reports to cover up the abuse. All five have pleaded not guilty. A jury trial is set for Jan. 26.

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