Columbia police chief accuses former captain of slander

tflach@thestate.comJuly 18, 2013 

Interim Columbia police chief Ruben Santiago went to court Thursday accusing a former aide of slander.

The move comes after claims by former Capt. David Navarro that Santiago asked him to take part in a scheme to frame an assistant city manager on drug and weapons charges.

Santiago has denied the allegations previously. The lawsuit is a way to clear his name professionally, said his lawyer, State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia.

The lawsuit, filed in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, seeks unspecified damages.

Navarro in the lawsuit is accused of slandering Santiago’s integrity and reputation and exposing him to “public hatred, contempt, ridicule, obloquy, and humiliation.”

It also said Navarro’s claims are “so extreme and outrageous as to exceed all possible bounds of decency and must be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable.”

Navarro’s claims were contained in an affidavit that was released to the public Monday, the day he was fired from the Columbia Police Department for what city officials said was failure to report to work, secretly recording a telephone call with a supervisor and spreading rumors. Navarro repeated his allegations in interviews with Columbia area media.

Navarro said earlier this week he is speaking out because it is time to air the facts. He said he stayed mum until now because he feared retaliation.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating, but a spokesman declined this week to say precisely what agents are looking into.

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service