Tennessee officer who pepper-sprayed and shot at squirrel loses suit

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MOUNTAIN CITY, Tenn. (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a claim from a former Mountain City police officer who was fired after pepper-spraying and shooting at a squirrel in a Dollar General Store in 2013.

The Johnson City Press reports Jody Putnam claimed the town and police department violated his constitutional rights. He was asking for $2 million in damages.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifton Corker dismissed the suit last month, ruling that Putnam was an at-will employee and his firing was constitutional.

Putnam’s largest damages claim stemmed from the assertion that the town acted recklessly in releasing information to the media that ruined his livelihood. Putnam said he could not get a job with any law enforcement agency in the country after the squirrel incident became national news.