Fired officer wins retaliation suit against Burns

BURNS, Tenn. (AP) – The state Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a former Burns police officer who was fired after reporting an illegal action by the chief.

According to court documents, Larry Williams ticketed the stepson of then-Chief Jerry Sumerour for speeding and reckless driving in March 2008. The chief later ordered Williams to change the citations to warnings.

Williams complained to the mayor and was fired several days later, ostensibly for insubordination. Williams sued, claiming his firing was actually in retaliation for his complaint to the mayor.

Williams initially lost his case in a bench trial. On Wednesday, the state Appeals Court reversed that ruling, finding that the claim that Williams was insubordinate was a mere pretext.

The case was sent back to the trial court to determine damages.