Ex-officer Appeals Firing Over Photos

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By Aaron Hepker

NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) — An officer whose firing triggered a large investigation into computer misuse at an Iowa prison says he's fighting for his job back.

John Powers was fired Sept. 30 from the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville for using Photoshop to make a "huge volume" of parody photos featuring mental health patients he guarded and coworkers.

Powers told The Associated Press on Thursday the images were a good-natured effort to bring humor to a dreary environment, but admits the practice "got out of hand." He worked at a psychiatric hospital inside the prison for mentally ill offenders.

Powers says his firing was unjust because supervisors were long aware of the photos. He's appealing through arbitration.

The investigation prompted a 10-day suspension of another officer who made similar images of workers.

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