Deputies Working as Cori Bush's Security Fired for Not Getting Permission for Job: Sheriff

The sheriff of St. Louis who dismissed two deputies who had been moonlighting as security for Democratic U.S. Representative Cori Bush said Friday that the deputies were dismissed for failing to follow approval protocol for their secondary jobs.

KMOV-TV first reported the firings of deputies Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson last month. Sheriff Vernon Betts said that their termination had nothing to do with who they were working for, but was a matter of following procedures.

"I didn't fire them for working security for Cori Bush," Betts said in a phone interview with the Associated Press. "I fired them for not following proper procedures for working secondary. So they just happened to be working for Cori Bush. Doing what they did, they would have gotten fired no matter who they were working for."

Bush has been calling for the defunding of the police.

St. Louis Sheriff's Office deputies' job responsibilities entail, among other things, providing security in the courts and serving evictions.

Rep. Cori Busch
Sheriff Vernon Betts said that the termination of Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson who were moonlighting as security for U.S. Rep. Cori Bush was a matter of their not following procedures. Above, Bush becomes emotional during a news conference on the eviction moratorium at the U.S. Capitol on August 3. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Betts said that secondary jobs are common: Of the 160 deputies, he estimated that 150 moonlight in other jobs—with permission. He said that he wants to approve all secondary jobs to make sure they don't interfere with the deputies' regular duties or leave them too tired, which could create additional risk in a job that is already dangerous.

Betts said the situation with Jackson and Thompson first came to light this past spring when they went to the St. Louis Justice Center in plain clothes while protecting Bush.

He told the deputies to fill out forms to get permission for their secondary jobs. But weeks later, they were again working for Bush when they went to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis County, Betts said.

Someone at the federal facility contacted Betts. Both men were fired, and their dismissals were upheld by an oversight board, the sheriff said.

Bush is a longtime activist leader who defeated 10-term Democrat William Lacy Clay in the August 2020 primary before winning election to the House of Representatives easily in November. Critics have questioned how she can spend thousands of dollars on private security while being one of the most vocal advocates for a movement to defund the police.

Bush has said she needs the security because she has received death threats.

Email messages that were left with Bush's representatives on Friday were not immediately returned.