Two former Erath County sheriff’s officials - former chief deputy Jason Upshaw and former captain Randy Fowler - have each filed lawsuits against Sheriff Matt Coates and commissioners Dee Stephens, Herbert Brown, Joe Brown and Scot Jackson.

A letter from Frank Hill with Hill Gilstrap attorneys at law based in Arlington dated July 6 states that Upshaw and Fowler are each suing Coates both individually and in his official capacity and the commissioners in their official capacity for deprivation of civil rights and due process.

The suit alleges that the men were terminated without pay and escorted out of the sheriff’s office in a “humiliating” way because they were “under investigation.”

Upshaw and Fowler say they have still never been told why they were terminated or given the due process hearing to which they are entitled. 

They say their termination has made it difficult to gain other employment and that it’s caused “severe emotional distress and mental anguish.”

The E-T has reached out to Sheriff Coates for comment, but he has not responded.

The E-T will bring you more information about this developing story as it unfolds.