SLED investigating Columbia Police Department

The State Law Enforcement Division has opened an investigation into the Columbia Police Department.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The State Law Enforcement Division has opened an investigation into the Columbia Police Department after Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago and fired police captain David Navarro both accused each other of illegal activity.

Mayor Steve Benjamin sent a letter to SLED Tuesday asking for a thorough investigation of all claims of corruption within the department, including those made by Navarro.

SLED spokesperson Thom Berry did not give details of the investigation, other than the investigation stems from a complaint against the department and Santiago's request..

This announcement comes one day after Navarro was fired in part for recording a conversation with Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago without Santiago's knowledge -- a violation of the city's employee handbook.

Navarro says he contacted SLED a week ago about possible corruption in the police department. He says at that time he also asked to resign from his position with the department.

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.

According to Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson, Navarro showed insubordination to his supervisor, shredded documents at CPD, and spread malicious rumors about the police department.

Wilson says she does not know what documents were shredded, but city officials are investigating to determine whether they were city documents.

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.