7th Circuit allows fired deputy to continue with lawsuit

By Nicole Minier

nminier@kpcmedia.com

CHICAGO — A former Whitley County Sheriff’s Deputy will be able to continue his lawsuit against Whitley County after a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Terrance McKinney, 29, is suing the county for discrimination after he was terminated from the department in May 2014.

McKinney was hired by the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department in Aug. 2013 as the department’s first african american officer. Former sheriff Mark Hodges terminated McKinney after citing three violations of employment standards.

Last week, the 7th Circuit reversed a decision by the District Court of Northern Indiana that favored the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.

McKinney says as a deputy, he was treated differently than his white coworkers. He was terminated for improperly using a county-issued gas card and filing wrong work hours, according to court documents. McKinney claimed some of his coworkers wouldn’t train him, and used inappropriate language around him.

According to records, the 7th Circuit said McKinney provided “substantial documentary and testimonial evidence…” in his case.

The 7th Circuit claimed the District Court of Northern Indiana didn’t property review all evidence and relied heavily on an affadavit by Hodges. McKinney claims he was subjected to department standards that didn’t exist or weren’t communicated to him properly.

Last week’s decision allows McKinney’s lawsuit to return to the lower court for a jury trial. It is unclear when that trial will be held.

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