Former CPD officer files suit, claims civil rights violations

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A former Columbia police officer is asking for $3.5 million in damages after he says he was the victim of discrimination.

Frank Bordeaux claims when it comes to the treatment of their officers, the Columbia Police Department has a double standard. Bordeaux spent 20 years with the Columbia Police Department. During that time, he rose to the status of Master Police Officer.

He's accusing the department of violating his civil rights.

Bordeaux's attorney, Lewis Cromer, says the department used a "retaliatory racial agenda which has constantly, for the 20 years he's been there, kept him down from the promotions and the positions that he felt to which he was entitled. And has favored, sadly, others less qualified."

In the lawsuit filed last week, Bordeaux cites a "climate of racial favoritism" in the department. One he claims provided black personnel with promotions, raises and less punishment for infractions than white officers.

The suit blames former chief and city manager Charles Austin, along with several high ranking officers, all but one are African-American. Bordeaux also targets a black female officer, accusing her of "acts of cowardice" in refusing to take part in arrests. He claims command staff responded to his complaint about the officer by labeling him a troublemaker.

Bordeaux was later fired, reinstated after a grievance procedure and then he says, forced to resign.

Bordeaux is no longer in law enforcement.

A city spokeswoman said there would likely be no comment on this because it is pending litigation.

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