Former Rutherford County Jailer Suing Sheriff Arnold

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A former Rutherford County jailer is suing the county and Sheriff Robert Arnold claiming he violated her constitutional rights by firing her in 2014 - calling her a "cancer" - after she supported a different candidate for sheriff.

A Nov. 2 hearing is set before U.S. District Judge Alita Traugher for the Middle District Court of Tennessee in Nashville, records show.


McKayla Black, who was hired at the sheriff's office in February 2008 by former Sheriff Truman Jones, contends Arnold personally fired her just before last Thanksgiving - without due process - because she backed independent candidate Dale Armour in the Aug. 2014 election.

When Black sought a promotion to patrol deputy in September 2014, Arnold told her, "I will not help anyone who is a cancer to this department and who tries to take food out of my children's mouths."


Rather than giving her the promotion, Arnold, a Republican, later fired her and gave the open deputy job to his cousin, James Vanderveer, who is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for apparently pepper-spraying a confined inmate in December 2013.

Arnold's administration, meanwhile, is at the center of a federal and state investigation into possible corruption involving the sale of e-cigarettes to inmates by a company linked to the sheriff, in addition to several contracts the sheriff signed without going through the county's purchasing procedures. Vanderveer's parents are listed as co-owners of JailCigs, the company that was selling e-cigarettes to inmates through their friends and family.

Black's lawsuit, filed Aug. 21 in federal court, states Arnold violated her First and 14th Amendment rights allowing free speech and political activity. It also contends he terminated her employment even though she was in good standing and without going through the chain of command.


Read the entire story at

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