DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A Douglasville police officer said he was retaliated against after complaining to management about what he calls racial profiling by fellow officers.
Officer Derrick Bailey was fired, but after appealing, he was reinstated. Douglasville Police Chief Chris Womack said he couldn’t go on camera but insisted neither he nor his officers racially profile.
Bailey sat down with Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman because he said he felt he had nowhere else to turn.
“I can tell you that things are going on, things that need to be addressed here that need to change,” he said.
Bailey shared some emails from 2011. He sent them to the chief and others raising concerns about what he said was racial profiling by fellow officers.
One email said, "Officers will stop a vehicle with multiple minorities in the vehicles, and they demand identification from everyone, even when there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause a crime has been committed."
“This is 2013. The Civil Rights Act was in the '60s. We shouldn't be having these struggles at this time,” Bailey told Stockman.
But Womack told Stockman that Bailey's concerns were looked into and were not credible. Bailey said they were never investigated, and he was subsequently fired.
After filing an open records request, Stockman found a note from the chief saying Bailey was fired for unprofessional conduct while responding to a shoplifting incident.
“I feel like I was retaliated against, yes,” Bailey told Stockman.
The file also contained a report from a hearing officer from the Georgia Department of Labor, finding that Douglasville police failed to provide enough evidence to fire Bailey.
The chief insists Bailey was not retaliated against, but rather fired after an extensive internal investigation.
The city manager said a separate investigation will be conducted to determine whether there is any merit to Bailey's claims of racial profiling. Meanwhile, Bailey, who is now on desk duty, is planning to file a federal lawsuit against the department.
“Some things need to be said, although uncomfortable, although something that we don’t want to talk about, people have an opportunity to change,” he said.