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Fired Black Police Chief Sues City Of Jasper

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JASPER (AP) - The first black police chief of an East Texas city made infamous by a 1998 hate crime dragging death has sued over his firing.

Former Jasper police Chief Rodney Pearson on Tuesday sued the city, Mayor Mike Lout and several municipal officials for damages. The lawsuit filed in Beaumont alleges racial discrimination and unlawful employment practices.

Lout on Tuesday denied the allegations. A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at Jasper City Hall declined to provide her name, said the city had no comment and hung up.

Pearson became chief in 2011 but was fired in June by the City Council over poor job performance. May elections led to new council members.

Three white men were convicted of the June 1998 dragging death of a black man, James Byrd Jr.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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