The Council Bluffs city councilman who was arrested in a prostitution sting last month has been fired from his job as a firefighter in the Omaha Fire Department. Darren Bates was among six men arrested in the sting at a Council Bluffs hotel on February 3rd.
Bates pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge and is upset Omaha terminated him. "I was expecting to be at least be given my day in court," Bates says. "Obviously, I have a wife and three children to take care of. I lost my livelihood so I’m very disappointed." Bates’ attorney, James Martin Davis, says Omaha’s decision to fire Bates is out of line.
Davis says: "They have presumed Mr. Bates to be guilty. We intend to go to trial on May 5th and get a not guilty verdict. After that, we are not only going to ask the city to give him his job back but to apologize for their rush to judgment." Davis now plans to appeal the decision to an out of state arbitrator.
He says, "In this country, you’re innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and I don’t know why that presumption of innocence has been erased at the fire department." The city of Omaha followed the recommendation of the Omaha fire chief to terminate Bates.
Davis and Bates say the fire chief holds much animosity toward Bates who, until recently, was president of the Omaha Firefighter’s Union. Bates says the fire chief was just waiting for an opportunity to hand him his pink slip.
"He has been looking for a reason for months," Bates says. "All the grievances that we filed over the last year we won all but two and those two are in arbitration now." Bates says the firing is a scare tactic in retaliation for his work as a union leader.