Demoted Columbia policeman files defamation suit against chief, others

January 16, 2013 

A police officer who was demoted in 2011 by Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott has filed a defamation lawsuit alleging harassment from top level police officials.

Officer Andre Williams said in the lawsuit that Scott and Deputy Chief Ruben Santiago were retaliating against him for speaking out against a proposed merger between the police department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Scott and Santiago were employed at the sheriff’s department before being hired by the city. Assistant Police Chief Les Wiser also was named in the suit.

Williams is married to a former police officer who has filed complaints against the department with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She recently was terminated by the department.

Williams was a sergeant in the K-9 unit when he was demoted two ranks for accepting special duty assignments while on the clock for the police department.

-- Noelle Phillips

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