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BEAUMONT, Texas The East Texas town of Jasper is fighting back against charges from three white officers that they were unfairly treated by its recently fired black police chief.

The Beaumont Enterprise reports that Jasper wants a federal court to dismiss lawsuits filed last month. Gary Pullen says he was fired by former chief Rodney Pearson because he filed a racial discrimination complaint. He says Pearson told him he was fired for using excessive force.

The other two officers, Christopher Ensign and Franklin Hall, say they applied to become chief and were later demoted.

The city denies the charges in court filings.

Pearson was fired last month shortly after several council members who supported him were replaced.

Jasper was made infamous by the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd Jr.
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