A former South Carolina police officer who was allegedly choked during a Black Lives Matter protest filed a lawsuit against the city of Greenville and its police chief, alleging he was unfairly fired.
Former Officer Joshua Pratt claimed in the lawsuit that he was fired in retaliation for criticizing the handling of a Black Lives Matter protest, reports News 2.
The officer said he was chocked by protester Dexter Scarborough, who was later charged with resisting arrest and attempted murder, assault, and battery on police.
After the altercation, Pratt discussed his concerns about the protest with Greenville City Council members and in department meetings. The lawsuit claims that after Pratt and other officers spoke out, Police Chief Ken Miller, threatened to punish them.
Miller accused the officers of going against the chain of command and “openly expressed his anger about such discussions,” the lawsuit alleged.
Pratt claimed that a few days after the accusation, Miller opened an investigation on what Pratt alleged was “an immaterial paperwork discrepancy.” The discrepancy was between details in the arrest warrant’s narrative and Pratt’s own report; the arrest was over a charge for possession of marijuana.
But Pratt said the confusion was over whether the suspect ran away from officers or not, but the suspect was not charged for that.
Pratt was fired Aug. 15 for “untruthfulness,” and “intentional deception.”
“Consequently, intentional untruthfulness is an egregious violation that can undermine the very public support and trust we rely upon…as a result of these finding the following disciplinary action is imposed: Termination of Employment.,” the termination letter read.
Pratt alleged that he was denied a chain of command hearing and a polygraph test to back up his claims that the discrepancy was a paperwork error.
“This lawsuit lacks any merit whatsoever, and the city and I intend to vigorously defend against it. There will be no further comment, as the matter is pending in litigation,” Miller said in a statement Wednesday.
Pratt’s lawsuit asks for a jury trial.
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