City, Police Chief Lovett facing two discrimination lawsuits - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City, police chief facing two discrimination lawsuits

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett and the city of Savannah are facing two racial discrimination lawsuits filed by high-ranking officers in U.S. District Court regarding comments Lovett allegedly made in 2011.

The suits allege discriminatory promotion practices within the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. The first lawsuit was filed in January by Captain Charles Hall. The second lawsuit was filed on Friday by Captain Dean Fagerstrom.

Both suits claim Chief Lovett made promotional decisions on race filling two police major slots.

Hall and Fagerstrom allege Chief Lovett said in a 2011 staff meeting about an open job, "you all know that this is a white position." They also claim that Lovett said he would "appoint a white" to the position because he already had two black majors in the department.

The lawsuits add that at a later meeting, Chief Lovett reiterated that the open promotional position was a "white" slot.

Hall and Fagerstrom both applied for major positions but were passed over in favor of Richard Zapal and Larry Branson, both of whom are white.

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