FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Some Washington County officials have thrown support behind a doctor who is being sued for his treatment of inmates in the jail.

At Monday’s Jails/Law Enforcement/Courts Committee Meeting, Justice of the Peace Patrick Deakins proposed a resolution honoring Dr. Robert Karas and Karas Correctional Health for their work in treating people in the jail with COVID-19.

The ACLU of Arkansas filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Karas, Sheriff Tim Helder and the Washington County Detention Center, accusing them of giving unproven treatments for COVID-19 to detainees without their consent.

In the latest update about the lawsuit, officials at the jail along with Dr. Karas as Defendants formally filed an answer to the allegations of the lawsuit. They are denying every allegation brought by the Plaintiffs and “respectfully demand” a jury trial.

Things got heated in the quorum court chambers Monday night as people either voiced their support for Dr. Karas and this resolution, or felt this is a sign that the county is taking a side against its vulnerable constituents.

It was also standing room only in the chambers. About two dozen people held hearts in support of Dr. Karas and held them up when people spoke in his favor.

“What I wanted to do is just show our appreciation as a county to those people who showed up every day at the jail, treated our inmates in a real effort to keep both inmates and the staff safe,” said JP Deakins.

Four inmates are listed as the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit. It claims they were given Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 but were told the treatment consisted of “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” and/or “steroids.” Ivermectin is not FDA approved as an anti-viral drug.

Since Karas is contracted to work for the county, criminal justice advocate Sarah Moore said this resolution is a conflict of interest.

“It’s really unfortunate that we would have a body in Washington County that would even think about moving forward to make any comments to make any kind of declarations given that this case is actually before a court of law,” she said.

Justice of the Peace Eva Madison said the county should be saying no comment right now.

“Why in the world would this body endorse a practice that is being challenged in court? Are we trying to just help the people who are suing the county? That’s a terrible idea,” she said in rebuttal to JP Deakin’s resolution.

Those in the crowd in favor of Karas shouted things back during her response, which goes against the rules of committee. Committee Chair Lance Johnson had to call order in the room multiple times.

Deakins said this shouldn’t be taken as the county’s position in the lawsuit.

“This is merely just I think there was an exemplary job done in their service to the county, outside of maybe some potential allegations that will come up within the court case,” he said.

Other JP’s and people on both sides let their stances be heard.

Justice of the Peace Suki Highers attended the meeting in the audience. She tweeted, “Your feelings about this doctor and/or the use of ivermectin to treat Covid are irrelevant. The Quorum Court offering support is reckless. Let the courts handle this. We need to stay in our lane.”

“We are hear today because JP Madison decided to make Dr. Karas a villain to the media back in August,” said a supporter of the resolution.

“It’s intimidating and terrifying to question and defy orders when you’re incarcerated in jail,” said someone against the resolution.

“I think this doctor knows just about as much as any doctor in this country right now and I don’t think anyone knows what the hell is going on with COVID,” said Justice of the Peace Willie Leming.

“My issues with the merits of this resolution is what sufficient basis does the author of this resolution have to evaluate this exceptional care?” asked Justice of the Peace Shawndra Washington.

The resolution did pass out of the committee. JP Madison was the only one to vote against it. It now heads to the full Quorum Court.