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Ex-Cop: Racial Discrimination Played Role in Firing

Posted December 19, 2007

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— A former Durham police officer is suing to get his job back.

Scott Tanner was a key figure in a fight at a north Raleigh sports bar on July 20, 2006. Rene Dennis Thomas said he was involved in an altercation with Tanner and a group of men in the parking lot of Blinco's Sports Restaurant & Bar on Glenwood Avenue.

Tanner and another officer, Gary P. Lee, were fired from the Durham Police Department following an internal investigation into the incident.

Tanner claims his firing was the result of racial discrimination. He said the city treats white male officers more harshly than black officers or female officers.

In October 2006, a judge dismissed the charges against Tanner and Lee, saying the state did not prove the offense occurred in Wake County. A Superior Court judge later vacated the dismissal and in April 2007, Tanner was found guilty of assault.

Lee was found not guilty in connection with the assault. Defense attorneys said Lee was protecting Tanner, who had been hospitalized a month before with cancer.

Tanner was ordered to complete 60 hours of community service and take an anger management class.

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  • bronzegoddess40 Dec 20, 2007

    Well......welcome to the real world. Discrimination happens to everybody. Like it is always said, "Suck it and keep on going." Maybe it could be that this guy is a stupid bully. For reason I think that if this was the case in Durham, then more white police officers would be saying so and leaving the force.

  • 68_polara Dec 20, 2007

    This isn't unusual in Durham. Surprised to see it in the news though, they usually do a good job keeping it quite.

  • Nancy Dec 20, 2007

    Nancy - Are you sure about your statement? I know that the two that were not fired were on the Duke rape case, but I didn't think that they were in the fight; I thought they were guilty of covering up the problems of a fellow officer. Don't get me wrong, when this happended I had the same reaction as you. i just don't think that all three were in the fight.

    seankelly - yup. Gottlieb and Clayton were involved in the fiasco at Blinco's - here are some articles from the time:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14027395/wid/6448213/

    http://www.statesville.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=SRL%2FMGArticle%2FWSJ_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149189643169&path=!statenews

  • catch22 Dec 19, 2007

    if the kick did not hit, you must acquit.

  • lizard Dec 19, 2007

    Where does it say this guy was convicted of a felony?

  • yeahright2 Dec 19, 2007

    Interesting how two cops, one white on black get busted for DWI and everyone thinks they should lose their jobs and eventually they both resign. But this cop beats someone up and there is a large number of people who think he is a good person and should keep his job.

    For those who don't think he was really involved in the fight, don't forget that he was convicted and that is all that really matters. I think if he wants to keep his job then he needs to appeal that conviction first and clear his name. Otherwise he needs to shut up and quietly go away.

  • lovecarolinagutters Dec 19, 2007

    This may very well be a racial issue...that's not for me to decide. White, black, green, purple or orange, the man is a bully. Good Riddance.

  • retired and luv it Dec 19, 2007

    Officer Tanner, you are obviously bitter as you should be. I too was fired from a job that I felt was not deserved and thought it surely was the end of the world. But as time passed and I mellowed, I got a better career job that allowed me to retire with a pension that i never would have had with the former employer. As for that former employer, he was out of business and dead of cancer within 5 years. So good things happen to good people although it is hard to see while you are in the bitter stage. Having a law enforcement career anywhere but Durham has got to be a positive step for you. Mellow out and good luck with the suit.

  • mindyourown Dec 19, 2007

    the case was dismissed because they could not prove that it happened in Wake County? are you serious? no wonder this country is in the shape it's in!

  • Tarheel Army Mom Dec 19, 2007

    Sweet mother of Jesus...will it ever end??

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