CENTRALIA (WRXX) – A Centralia police officer is claiming racial discrimination in his recent pursuit of the police chief position.
Attorneys representing Sgt. Michael Peebles reportedly delivered a letter of intent Friday to the City of Centralia indicating they will file suit if an agreement isn’t reached with their client.
The letter noted Sgt. Peebles is the only African American employed by the City and claims his treatment when he applied for the position of police chief demonstrates a serious problem in Centralia government.
It explained that the City initially offered the chief’s position to a white man who turned down the job. But rather than offer the position to Sgt. Peebles, who they say is well qualified, they dramatically increased their offer to the other man.
According to the letter, Sgt. Peebles and his attorneys have information that Mayor Bryan Kuder stated that Sgt. Peebles would never be police chief as long as he was Mayor. Kuder has denied that allegation.
The letter further claimed another member of Centralia government referred to Sgt. Peebles as an n-word when disparaging him to other members of Centralia government and that the statement was brought to the attention of the Mayor and City Council, but no action appears to have been taken.
Mayor Kuder said that is false and that an investigation has been launched into that allegation.
The law firm closed the letter by saying Sgt. Peebles was a victim of racial discrimination from people at various levels of Centralia government, including the hiring decision made at the very highest levels of Centralia government.
It requests Sgt. Peebles to be promoted to the position of Police Chief with the attendant pay and benefits, but it also indicates a willingness to agree to other resolutions before filing a civil suit in court.