By Sandy Malone and Holly Matkin
St. Louis, MO – Two St. Louis sheriff’s deputies have been fired after they worked a private security detail for U.S. Representative Cori Bush’s (D-Missouri) tour of St. Louis jails without getting permission.
Videos of Bush’s tour of the correctional facilities in April showed that she was accompanied by off-duty, now-former St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputies Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson, KMOV reported.
The four-month old clips came to light after Bush defended herself last week for having spent some $70,000 in campaign funds to pay for private security since she took office.
One of the leading faces of the Defund the Police movement, Bush was widely criticized for being a hypocrite when the information about her security budget went public.
But the controversial congresswoman told CBS News in an interview that her decision to spend $70,000 on private security for herself is why she is “here standing now.”
She said the people who are criticizing her are actually the ones to blame for her “need” for security.
“We’re talking about the same exact people who say horrible things about me – who lie to build up their base – and then because they lie about me, I receive death threats,” Bush declared.
“I have private security because my body is worth being on this planet right now! I have private security because they, the white supremacist racist narrative that they drive into this country, the fact that they don’t care that this black woman that has put her life on the line, they can’t match my energy, first of all,” she rambled, waving her arms wildly.
Bush said she is going to make sure she is protected no matter what.
“I’m gonna make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life,” she claimed. “I have too much work to do. There are too many people that need help right now for me to allow that. So if I end up spending $200,000, if I end up spending 10, 10, 10 more dollars on it – you know what? I get to be here to do the work. So, suck it up!”
But the problem became where Bush was getting her private security personnel, KMOV reported.
St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts was also on hand for Bush’s tour of the city’s jails and said he was shocked to see two men who worked for him were working for the congresswoman.
Sheriff Betts said the two deputies had violated department policy by failing to get permission to work the off-duty detail for Bush, KMOV reported.
He said that Deputies Jackson and Thompson were warned after the jail tour not to do that again without permission, but they did.
The sheriff said he got a call from the V.A. police in Jefferson Barracks a few weeks later who said both deputies were on hand providing security for Bush, again, KMOV reported.
Sheriff Betts said he was also concerned because neither former deputy had an individual private security license to do what they were doing.
The sheriff said he decided to fire the deputies in light of the multiple violations of the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office policy, KMOV reported.
But the terminated officers don’t believe they were fired for breaking the rules.
Former Deputy Jackson told KMOV that he thought the move was politically motivated.
“Because of the client we worked for and we didn’t push the agenda of the sheriff on the client,” he explained.
Then the former law enforcement officer said that he didn’t need a license for the job, KMOV reported.
“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,” former Deputy Jackson said.
Security licenses are generally required for guarding property, not acting as bodyguards.
He said he thought that he and former Deputy Thompson were singled out for punishment, KMOV reported.
“I do feel that the hand that was dealt to us was unfair and unjust,” the former deputy said. “You let us go, but you still have a plethora of individuals doing that but you don’t say anything.”