Region 8 Sheriff Sued by Former Deputy

JULY 13, 2004 - Posted at 7:21 a.m. CDT

AUGUSTA, AR - The Woodruff County sheriff is being sued in federal court by a former department captain who claims he was fired two hours after he announced he was running against the sheriff in the Democratic primary.

Dennis Atkins of Augusta filed the suit against Sheriff Freddie Hudson.  Atkins says the sheriff fired him March 17 and claims his First Amendment rights were violated.

Hudson has been sheriff since 2002.  He previously defeated Atkins in two other elections.

Hudson is challenged by independent Jerry Barnett of McCrory in the November 2 general election.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)