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Osceola County Sheriff fires back

SIBLEY, Iowa -- A document filed Thursday in a federal civil suit brought forth by a former deputy states that deputy was not fired for offering to testify in an unrelated case, but for a continuing pattern of poor performance and unprofessional behavior.

Former Osceola County Deputy Daniel Minten filed the civil suit in January, claiming that Sheriff Doug Weber violated his First Amendments rights by firing him for insubordination after Minten testified in another First Amendment case against Weber.

That case involved Weber's denial of a conceal and carry permit to Osceola County resident Paul Dorr.

According to the complaint filed in Minten's case, Minten had pulled over Dorr's daughter during a routine traffic stop, and during the stop told the girl he would be willing to testify in her father's litigation.

Dorr later prevailed in the case, was issued the permit and -- as part of the judge's orders -- Weber was required to attend a college-level course regarding the U.S. Constitution.

Several months later, in February 2010, Weber fired Minten, citing insubordination.

Almost a year later, Minten filed the civil suit asking for damages and attorney fees.

Minten is represented by the same attorneys who argued Dorr's case.

In answer to the demand for a jury trial, Weber denied a majority of the allegations and asked that others be struck.

Weber asked that Minten's complaint be dismissed.

"(Minten) was discharged for legitimate, lawful reasons, unrelated to his alleged exercise of First Amendment rights," Weber's document states as an affirmative defense. "Those reasons include, but are not limited to a continuing pattern of poor performance, policy violations and unprofessional behaviors..."

Those behaviors consist of numerous citizen complaints, the document continues.

It cites anger control issues "for which he has been counseled and disciplined in the past," excessive use of force in using a Taser on a citizen, submitting false reports, failing to submit reports as required by department policy, repeatedly ignoring requests by the sheriff to address those issues and deceptive statements and behavior.