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      Santiago speaks out, says Columbia Police deserve support

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Columbia Interim Police Chief Rueben Santiago, is once again speaking out against allegations made against him by former Columbia Police Captain David Navarro.

      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.

      â??Itâ??s an ongoing civil and criminal investigation, but I can say just the same as I have always done, undeniably untrue, false,â?? says Ruben Santiago, Interim Police Chief.

      Santiago goes on to say that itâ??s important the folks who live in the City of Columbia donâ??t get distracted by Navarroâ??s claims.

      â??Weâ??re the Capital City Police Department. So we are the center of attention on everything and we are used to that. But what weâ??re trying to really do is encourage and challenge the citizens of Columbia, to get behind the city. Get behind the police department and supporting the positives that we do. We are not perfect we are going to make mistakes. But as a collective, as a community we can work together to make it positive,â?? says Santiago.

      Navarro filed a lawsuit recently against the City of Columbia, where he claims he was wrongfully terminated from the department. The suit also accuses Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago of "a pattern of racketeering activity."

      â??Weâ??re talking about frivolous allegations based on lies,â?? says Santiago.

      In response to the allegations, Santiago also filed a lawsuit against Navarro for defamation of character.