Local News

Ex-Cop: Racial Discrimination Played Role in Firing

Posted December 19, 2007 12:37 p.m. EST
Updated December 19, 2007 3:38 p.m. EST

— 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.