Former 4th Street Bar employee suing for wrongful termination

By HASKEL BURNS,

The former 4th Street Bar employee who was allegedly fired for refusing to drop charges after being assaulted by an off-duty Hattiesburg Police Department officer is filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the bar's owner.

In a compliant filed Aug. 5 in Forrest County Circuit Court by Hattiesburg attorney Daniel Waide, it is contended that plaintiff Timothy Janeway served as a bartender at 4th Street for more than a year, working under owner Kevin Walters. On the night of Feb. 10, Janeway was assaulted by officer Cory Shumock outside the bar, where Janeway was also off-duty playing in a darts tournament.

The suit alleges Janeway then filed charges against Shumock, but shortly after was “encouraged” by Walters to drop the charges and make a deal outside of court. After Janeway refused to drop the charges, Walters allegedly told Janeway he would be fired if he did not comply with Walters’ request by “5 o’clock.”

When Janeway again refused, he was fired from 4th Street Bar.

The suit goes on to say that since Janeway has been fired, Walters has made slanderous and defamatory comments against Janeway, including social media posts in which Walters called Janeway a “troublemaker” and someone who “instigated” fights at work. Walters also allegedly said that Janeway illegally carried a firearm to work to intimidate customers.

Janeway is seeking actual, compensatory, consequential, punitive and special damages, including costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorney’s fees.

Shumock, who joined HPD in November 2017 and previously served with the Purvis Police Deparment, assaulted Janeway after Shumock allegedly spoiled some magic tricks Janeway was performing after the darts tournament. Surveillance video shows Janeway walking outside, followed shortly after by Shumock.

The video shows Shumock backhanding Janeway, at which point the two men began to wrestle before being separated by a spectator.

Shumock, who is still employed with the police department, was arrested and in July found guilty of simple assault. Forrest County Justice Court Judge Robert Davis sentenced Shumock to 30 jails in jail suspended, six months of unsupervised probation, a fine of $283.75 and restitution of almost $600 to Janeway.

If Shumock completes probation without further incidents, the charge will be nonadjudicated and will not become part of his permanent record.

HPD officials conducted an internal affairs investigation after the incident.