A fired employee of the Richland County Recreation Commission has filed a federal suit against the agency, its ousted director and others, alleging his freedom of speech was violated.
Ex-program manager Julian Shabazz said in the suit filed this week that he was “interrogated” in October 2014 by now ex-director James Brown III and personnel director David Stringer about anonymous letters that were circulating. Then-assistant director Kenya Bryant, orginally named in the suit, is no longer a defendant.
Brown threatened to suspend Shabazz for reading one of those letters, according to the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
Shabazz then was banned from driving or riding in county vehicles; excluded from park programs, and the agency took action to exclude him from other programs, the suit states.
Shabazz filed a hostile work environment complaint against the three and was fired two months later, according to his lawsuit.
This suit is the latest in a string filed by former employees of the embattled commission.