Third Deputy Charges Sheriff With Racial Discrimination 

Another former Richmond Sheriff's Office deputy is preparing to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against Richmond Sheriff C.T. Woody.

Deborah Koger, an eight-year veteran of the office, was fired May 15, allegedly for abusing her sick leave.

Koger says she'd been out for surgery recently, even supplying doctor's notes to her supervisors. But her real pain with the department, she says, began shortly after Woody fired another deputy for accidentally releasing an inmate.

Koger was on duty and witnessed much of what occurred in September when Deputy Robert Garrett and two other sheriff's officials accidentally released an inmate. She also was on duty when Deputy Eric Aycock accidentally released an inmate. Garrett and Aycock were both fired.

But a sergeant who was in charge in both cases had ordered Garrett and Aycock to release the prisoners, Koger says in signed affidavits. She says that sergeant was not disciplined or fired.

Koger has been called as a witness in Garrett and Aycock's upcoming trial and has given a signed statement to a lawyer representing both Garrett and Aycock. As a result, she says the sheriff's office is intimidating her.

Woody's office didn't return calls from Style seeking comment.

"Since I signed the affidavit, I have been subjected to approximately four (4) drive-by visits to my residence and the office of Plaintiff's counsel by agents of Sheriff Woody," Koger writes in a statement given as part of her own case. She writes that the most recent example happened May 14 at 6:10 p.m., "at which time a vehicle I believed to be owned and operated by a Departmental employee was parked in front of my house for no reason related to police business.

"I believe these drive-by events were conducted for the sole purpose of intimidation due to my willingness to testify for the Plaintiffs in the Garrett case."

Koger says jail officials also disciplined her for allegedly falling asleep while guarding a female inmate who'd been transferred from the jail to Virginia Commonwealth Medical Center after suffering a stroke.

The inmate, Sunday Lucas, according to interviews conducted in the Koger case, says Koger never fell asleep.

Koger's attorney says she plans to file suit on behalf of her client some time next month. This will be the third lawsuit alleging discrimination against nonblack employees filed against Woody's office.

A hearing in the Garrett and Aycock discrimination suits is scheduled for June 24. The case is being heard in U.S. District Court.

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