UPDATE: Red Bank officer files lawsuit against department - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Red Bank officer files lawsuit against department

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RED BANK, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB)— A Red Bank police officer has filed a lawsuit against the department, claiming numerous violations of his rights.

Channel 3 is investigating the shocking allegations made by a police officer who says the 'N-word' is used rampantly throughout the department.  That's not the only allegation made by Officer Stephen L. Satterwhite.

In a federal suit against the city and police chief, Satterwhite also makes claims of harassment and age discrimination.

Officer Satterwhite joined the Red Bank Police force in 2000.  In the lawsuit he alleges hearing supervisors use the 'n-word' at work on many occasions.  He also claims a demotion he received is a direct result of his role in the firing of then-police chief, Larry Sneed.

The Red Bank Police Department can't seem to escape controversy as another police officer files a lawsuit against the city.

"We've had so many lawsuits in the last year," says City Commissioner, Floy Pierce. 

Like many others in Red Bank, Pierce says she's shocked by the latest allegations.

 "We need to not be known for so much of the negative that's going on," she says. 

This week Officer Stephen Satterwhite filed his case in Federal Court.  In it he claims hearing officers and supervisors use the 'N-word' on multiple occasions throughout his 11 year career.

Much of the alleged racial slurs revolve around Detective Doug Millsaps.  In one of the incidents Millsaps and Officer Ike Cooper, an African-American, both applied for a detective position.

When the job was awarded to Cooper, Satterwhite claims he overheard Millsaps say, "I always knew they would give it to a 'n-word'."  

The complaint also claims Millsaps has several racial pictures on his Facebook page. Including one of the KKK Founder, and one of Millsaps standing in front of a confederate soldier and Celtic cross.  The complaints states the cross is known as a symbol for white supremacy.

Satterwhite describes another derogatory comment made to Cooper by a city judge in the complaint.

On top of the allegations of racism, Officer Satterwhite claims he and other officers have been subject to retaliation since the firing of former Police Chief Larry Sneed.  Satterwhite was part of the group of officers who initiated the investigation against Sneed. 

In July, Satterwhite was demoted from sergeant to patrol officer, which he says is a direct retaliation to Sneed's firing.

"We do have a lot of good officers," says Pierce.  "A lot of opportunities in our little city."

Although the lawsuit doesn't involve Commissioner Pierce, as a citizen of Red Bank she can't help but feel the sting of another scandal.

"We're looking forward to getting all of these behind us," she says.  "We want to move on." 

Officer Satterwhite declined comment Friday.  His suit also names Lieutenant Jay Lamance, and current Police Chief Tim Christol.  They too did not return our calls.   

[READ ENTIRE COMPLAINT]

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