Jailer Fired for Playing Gangster, Gets Suspended Again

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(Memphis) – Delano Parker hoped a part in a movie titled, “Gangsters, Hustlers, and Hoes” would launch his entertainment career.

“I played a gang member who quit being in a gang to be a musician,” he said.

Instead, it landed him on the unemployment line.

“The sheriff’s office office says they didn`t like that because they didn`t like their officers involved in stuff like that,” he said. 

Parker was fired in 2009 from his job as a jailer at the Shelby County Jail.  The county said didn’t want a jailer playing a gangster.

But Parker fought back.

“About 3 years ago, I filed a lawsuit to get my job back,” he said.

Parker won.

In the lawsuit he claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to fire him and that his First Amendment rights were violated.

In March he went back to work at the Shelby County Jail, but Wednesday he learned an Appeals Court reversed the decision in the lower court. The county suspended him without pay.

“I turned in my badge and everything,” he said.

But just like in the movies, there’s another twist to this plot.

The appeals court said while there is enough evidence to fire him, no one looked at his First Amendment claim. That claim will now be investigated by the Civil Service Board.

“I got another three year battle before I get paid again,” Parker feared.

Until then, he says getting a job to pay the bills will be a struggle.

“I went to college. I did everything I was supposed to do to represent my family well and this has put a dark stain on it and it makes is hard for me to be employed other places,” he said.

No word yet when the Civil Service Board will hear Parker’s case.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says, “The decision was made by court and we stand by the decision.”

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