Two St. Louis sheriff’s deputies who worked secondary jobs providing security for U.S. Rep. Cori Bush were fired for failing to get approval for their moonlighting, and not because of whom they worked for, Sheriff Vernon Betts said Friday.
Deputies Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson were dismissed last month. Their firings were first reported by KMOV-TV. Neither man has a listed phone number.
“I didn’t fire them for working security for Cori Bush,” Betts said in a phone interview. “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.”
The St. Louis Sheriff’s Office provides two main tasks: Deputies handle security in court, and they serve eviction notices.
Betts said secondary jobs were common: Of the 160 deputies, he estimated that 150 moonlight in other jobs — with permission. He said 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 an already-dangerous job.
Betts said the situation with Jackson and Thompson first came to light this 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 Lacy Clay in the August 2020 primary before winning easily in November. Critics question 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.
A spokeswoman for Bush’s campaign office declined comment on the firings, saying in an email that personnel matters “are handled by the specific firms retained.”
The email said Bush used hired security due “to a non-stop barrage of death threats and targeted harassment.”