ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Two St. Louis City sheriff deputies were fired after working security for Congresswoman Cori Bush. Now, one of them is defending himself, saying his firing was unfair.
Bush was on CBS last week defending her use of private security, saying "I'm gonna make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life and I have too much work to do."
Recent federal filings show she's spent $70,000 in campaign funds since taking office for private security services. Back in April, Bush, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and other notables took a tour of the city's jails. News 4 obtained surveillance video from the tours and along with all others, two security guards were there to protect Bush: Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson.
Also there that day was St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts who told News 4 he was surprised to see the two security guards because they also worked for him. The sheriff told News 4 Jackson and Thompson violated policy by not getting approval to work a secondary shift as security guards. He said the two were warned not to do it again but several weeks later, he said his office was called by the VA police in Jefferson Barracks who said the two men were again providing security for Bush.
The sheriff also said he was concerned because neither Jackson or Thompson have current individual private security licenses to work in the city. News 4 has verified this. Given the multiple violations, the sheriff said he fired the two deputies.
"I do feel that the hand that was dealt to us was unfair and unjust," Jackson said. "You let us go, but you still have a plethora of individuals doing that but you don't say anything."
Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush is coming under fire after spending $70,000 of her own campaign money on private security -- despite her calls for defunding the police.
When he talked to News 4, Jackson said he believes the sheriff had another motive. "Because of the client we worked for and we didn't push the agenda of the sheriff on the client." And when it comes to licenses, he said he didn't need one. "You do not need a security license to do executive protection because if I hire you to protect me, I am paying you out of pocket. You don't need a license for that."
St. Louis police confirm their licenses cover contracted properties but personal protection is not covered by their licensing process.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has continued to criticize Bush for using private security at all.
"It’s the height of hypocrisy. It’s incredibly reckless for Representative Bush to have her own private security and tells everybody else to suck it up, as she seeks to defund the police," Schmitt said. "Meanwhile St. Louis had a 50-year high in murders last year as violent crime rages on. It’s just a complete disconnect with reality."