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Ex-Montrose sheriff’s deputy failed to establish retaliation for complaining about racism, court finds

A Montrose County deputy’s text message complaining about racism and unprofessional conduct in the sheriff’s office was neither specific enough nor sufficiently in the public’s interest to shield him from retaliation, the federal appeals court based in Denver decided on Thursday.

Brad Lamb, who the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office terminated in September 2015, believed he had engaged in activity protected from retaliation. At the center of his appeal was a text message he sent to a friend in a different law enforcement agency that his employer eventually found out about.

“Just wanted to stay in touch. REALLY big mistake coming to work here,” Lamb texted on Dec. 23, 2014. “Racism, good Ole boy, no professionalism. Let me know if you and Angie are still up for poker.”