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      Fired police captain sues City of Columbia

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Fired police captain David Navarro has filed a lawsuit (PDF) against the City of Columbia following his termination from the police department.

      In the suit Navarro says he was wrongfully terminated from the department. The suit also accuses Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago of "a pattern of racketeering activity."

      Navarro was fired after he recorded a conversation with Santiago without him knowing, shredded documents at work, and spread rumors about the police department, according to City Manager Teresa Wilson.

      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.

      Santiago denies Navarro's claims and filed a lawsuit against Navarro for defamation of character, according to Todd Rutherford, who is representing Santiago in the case.

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

      In Santiago's letter to SLED Cheif Mark Keel, he asks SLED to investigate Navarro's shredding of documents and possible missing or misappropriation of funds from the Columbia Police Foundation.

      Wednesday Mayor Steve Benjamin released a statement saying in part: "I have no tolerance for corruption of any kind and if there is any wrongdoing found as a result of SLEDâ??s investigation, I will push for any wrongdoers to be immediately fired and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

      The investigation is the latest in an ongoing series of developments at CPD.

      In April Chief Randy Scott took a leave of absence from the department, ultimately resigning as chief citing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

      Scott was hired by the Richland County Sheriff's Department as a uniformed investigator a day after his retirement from CPD. Scott had previously worked as a Chief Deputy at the RCSD before joining the CPD.

      Scott's predecessor was fired in May 2010 after refusing to turn over to the S.C. Highway Patrol an investigation into a serious car wreck involving the then-mayor-elect.

      Deputy Chief Ruben Santiago was named Interim Chief after Scott's resignation. Wilson says the city plans to hire a new chief by September.