DOCUMENTS: Discrimination complaint filed against Columbus police chief

The accusations were submitted last year by Fraternal Order of Police President and Columbus Police officer Ralph Dowe, three years after Dowe was not promoted to Captain.
Discrimination complaint filed against Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 11:58 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon spoke to News Leader 9 about the weekend violence on Monday, Feb. 28. The chief reiterated that his force is making progress in getting offenders off the street and getting the community more involved in the process.

He also addressed the fallout from a recent survey by the local Fraternal Order of Police that showed its members had “low confidence” in Blackmon’s ability to lead the department. News Leader 9 obtained documents revealing a discrimination complaint filed against Chief Blackmon last year and we are the first media outlet to report what’s in it.

Documents obtained by News Leader 9 accuse Columbus’ now-police chief of discrimination. Lieutenant Ralph Dowe filed this complaint May 2021 against the Columbus Police Department - claiming Chief Freddie Blackmon made decisions involving him on the basis of race, retaliation, sex and disability. Some city leaders mentioned this complaint during last week’s council meeting when Dowe presented a vote of low confidence from the Fraternal Order of Police about Chief Blackmon’s leadership.

“I’m willing to work with the FOP,” said Chief Blackmon during his recent ‘Chat with the Chief.’ I have worked with the FOP since I have become Chief of Police and I’m willing to continue working with them.”

While working for the police department, Dowe was promoted to sergeant in March 2000 and became lieutenant in March 2013. This complaint was filed three years after Dowe was not promoted to Captain.

The discrimination complaint states:

“I’m proud of the men and women of the Columbus Police Department,” said Chief Blackmon. “We have over 300 officers and over 100 civilian men and women.”

The Columbus Police Department and Columbus Consolidated Government response to the complaint states Chief Blackmon’s reorganization of the police force has “enhanced promotional opportunities for all police officers and were considered, supported and approved by the mayor, the city manager, the director of human resources as well the city councilors.”

Going forward, Chief Blackmon says his staff are working hard combating increased violence throughout the city.

“Members of my command staff and I have met regarding developing strategies,” said Chief Blackmon. “We will set forth at reducing crime in a two-fold approach. One approach, of course will be to continue our proactive stance on policing.”

News Leader 9 spoke with Lieutenant Dowe and since last week’s council meeting, he has continuously made it clear he will not be speaking about that complaint. However, both he and Chief Blackmon have made it clear they want to work together and move forward.

The original complaint is available here along with the response from CPD and CCG.

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