Columbia police chief files lawsuit against fired captain

Columbia Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago refused to answer questions Wednesday about SLED's investigation of his department.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago is suing his former police captain, David Navarro, for defamation of character, according to Todd Rutherford, who is representing Santiago in the case.

The lawsuit comes after Navarro told WACH FOX about a conspiracy he says Santiago was planning to put cocaine and a stolen gun in the assistant city manager's car in an effort to get him fired.

Navarro was fired Monday after city officials say he secretly recorded a conversation with Santiago, then spread malicious rumors and shredded unidentified documents.

Navarro says his statements were not malicious rumors. He says he was telling the truth when he told the city manager about the scheme he claims the police chief had planned.

The State Law Enforcement Division has started an investigation of the police department to determine whether any of the allegations are valid.

Members of Columbia City Council say they're ready for some answers.

"I fully anticipate that at the end of this process that there's going to be some very serious accountability for someone, because somebody is seriously in the wrong here, and we're going to get to the bottom of it," said Councilman Cameron Runyan.

"And I'm going to reach out to the FBI and ask them if they can come...investigate this and help SLED in investigating this properly," said Councilman Moe Baddourah.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin also wrote a letter to SLED, asking them to thoroughly investigate all claims of corruption, including those made by former captain Navarro.

Santiago refused to answer questions Wednesday about the SLED investigation.