• Osceola County deputy fired after attempting to run for sheriff

    By: Deanna Allbrittin

    Updated:

    OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - An Osceola County sheriff's deputy has been fired after he decided to run against his boss for the county's sheriff seat.

    Deputy Marco Lopez posted about the termination to his Facebook account, with most commentators questioning the legality of the move. 

    Lopez said he received a letter after he finished working his shift on Friday. The letter stated Lopez was being let go because he "doesn't have a constitutional right to run against a sitting sheriff who has filed for re-election."

    Channel 9 legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said that legally, Lopez could have kept his job until he qualified for the ballot next year. 

    "In the court of public opinion, it may appear that the sheriff messed up," said Sheaffer. "However, the federal case law indiciates the sheriff did what he could do.

    The sheriff's office cited prior cases with similar cirucmstances during a statement Monday as they stood by their decision.

    Those officials called Lopez's election filing a "breach of loyalty" that is detrimental to the operational effectiveness of the agency. 

    The sheriff's office is also fighting Lopez in a different lawsuit that involves allegations of retaliation after running for sheriff in the 2016 election.

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