Posted on March 19, 2022

Two White Columbus Police Officers Sue City, Claim Reverse Discrimination in Promotional Practices

Chuck Williams, WRBL, March 16, 2022

Two white Columbus police officers have filed a federal reverse discrimination suit against the city, mayor, police chief, and human resources director claiming discriminatory promotional practices.

Lt. Ralph Dowe and Lt. Tony Litle filed the suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia challenging the city’s Affirmative Action program. Mayor Skip Henderson, Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, and Human Resources Director Reather Hollowell are named in the suit.

“… Plaintiffs allege that Chief Blackmon discriminated against them by denying them promotions in seeking to achieve and maintain a predetermined racial and gender balance,” the suit alleges. “Plaintiffs bring claims of race and gender discrimination pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”


Instead of promoting those already eligible for command staff positions, Blackmon lowered the qualifications for the command staff positions by lowering educational and time-in-rank requirements.

This impacted Dowe and Litle because men had obtained master’s degrees.

On December 30, 2020, Blackmon made various promotions across the department but did not promote Dowe or Litle even though they were eligible.

Blackmon promoted Capt. Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick, a black woman, and Capt. Debra Kennedy, a white woman, to the assistant chief positions. Previously, there had been only one assistant chief.

“By promoting Dent-Fitzpatrick and Kennedy, Blackmon named the first two female Assistant Chiefs in CCG’s history, and to achieve a racial balance,” the suit claims.

Positions that were previously called “majors” were renamed “deputy chiefs.”

Blackmon promoted four men to Deputy Chief: Lieutenant Lance Deaton, a white man; Lieutenant Roderick Graham, a black man; Captain Thomas Dent, a white man; and Captain Roland Hastings, a white man.

Blackmon promoted Lt. Consuelo Askew, a black woman; Lt. David Blackstock, a white man; Lt. Kevin Hamer, a white man; and Lt. Gregory Touchberry, a white man, to captain.

“In so doing, Blackmon promoted every black lieutenant eligible for a promotion (Graham and Askew),” the suit claims. “Likewise, Blackmon promoted every female captain and lieutenant eligible for a promotion (Dent-Fitzpatrick, Kennedy, and Askew).”

This suit comes as the Fraternal Order of Police has expressed a lack of confidence in Blackmon’s leadership. {snip}