Ex-CPD employee Caffery alleges tracking device placed on car by - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

LAWSUIT: Ex-CPD employee Caffery alleges tracking device placed on car by former lover Randy Scott

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Bridget Caffery (Source: J. Lewis Cromer & Associates) Bridget Caffery (Source: J. Lewis Cromer & Associates)
Randy Scott Randy Scott

A former civilian employee of the Columbia Police Department who has some involvement in the so-called "black ops" investigation says former police chief Randy Scott placed a tracking device on her personal car while the two were romantically involved.

Bridget Caffery, 24, also accuses the Columbia Police Department of forcing her to resign after members of the command staff assured her she would not be terminated following a DUI arrest in which she asked for Ruben Santiago and Randy Scott to be summoned to the jail.

The former intelligence analyst also alleges Scott took part in a conspiracy to harm Caffery's "reputation and career in the criminal justice field."

Attorneys J. Lewis Cromer and J. Paul Porter have filed a lawsuit against the City of Columbia and Randy Scott on behalf of Caffery seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees.

According to Porter, Caffery was a crime analyst for the department for more than two years. The job was her first employment after graduating from the University of South Carolina.

Caffery resigned from the Columbia Police Department on January 31, 2014, a move she says was forced upon her on the basis of a "vaguely alleged ethical violation and unauthorized recording."

That unauthorized recording came to light during the probe into the alleged plot by Ruben Santiago to frame a city official so he and others could move up in the department. Upstate Solicitor Walt Wilkins later said there is not sufficient evidence to charge Santiago.

She says she took part in that secret recording because "she was afraid of Randy Scott," according to the suit.

The recording, which was a conversation between Santiago and Navarro, was discovered on her laptop while SLED looked into the alleged plot.

City officials met with Caffery about the recording in the middle of January. During the meeting, city leadership did not indicate Caffery would be terminated or disciplined for the recording, the suit states.

"The city's top brass who had the authority to speak on behalf of the city promised Ms. Caffery that she had nothing to worry about and that anything she was involved in was not a terminable offense, she relied on that promise and that promise was broken," said Porter.

Caffery and Scott were romantically involved from October, 2011 to May, 2013, according to the suit.

During the relationship, Caffery says Scott was "controlling and made many threatening comments to her including the suggestion that he could "make [Caffery] disappear," the suit states.

"I'll let that speak for itself," said Porter. "You know, didn't say I'll make you disappear in your employment, in the same hand he didn't say I'll make you disappear period, but it's certainly not conversation or a statement anybody would like to hear."

Scott admitted to Caffery that he had "placed, or caused to be placed," in late 2012 to early 2013, a GPS tracking device on her vehicle without her content to monitor her comings and goings and to see if she was seeing anybody else, according to the suit.

Caffery says she saw Scott remove the device in March 2013.

"It's our view when you use city property and you're the chief of the city's police department and you use that property to place to put a tracking device on someone's personal vehicle, the city should be held liable for that conduct," said Porter.

Caffery first made headlines after she was arrested for DUI three days after Christmas. While she was being questioned by a South Carolina state trooper, she asked for Scott and Santiago to show up at the jail when she arrived. A department spokesperson said Santiago was made aware of the arrest a few days later and did not go to the jail.

The suit says Caffery returned to work and informed her superiors of the arrest. She was not disciplined and continued to perform her job.

Scott, according to the lawsuit, told former Capt. Dave Navarro, the man who accused Santiago of trying to set up assistant city manager Allison Baker, of Caffery's arrest and instructed him to inform the media.

On January 21, WIS reported the DUI arrest.

Later that day, Santiago and Sgt. James Richardson met with Caffery.

The suit states:

"In this meeting, Sergeant Richardson informed her that '[She] had nothing to worry about;' Santiago assented to the same and informed Plaintiff that 'people here had been arrested for worse and not terminated;' and both affirmed to her that Plaintiff's not yet adjudicated arrest was not terminable under City policy nor did it warrant discipline."

Caffery said she trusted the men and continued on with her work.

Ten days later, she was told she was to resign or would be terminated on the spot. Caffery's attorneys did not specify the reason for the forced termination, but did say:

"...policy does not permit termination or discipline to its employees for arrests that have not resulted in convictions including specifically terminations of citizen employees for a charge of driving under the influence."

The suit also alleges at least two other city employees remain on the job for charges including CDV and burglary.

Caffery says because she relied on the alleged promises of employment, she deserves back pay, back benefits, and reinstatement to a same or similar position.

The conspiracy Caffery alleges took place to smear her name involves more than just Scott and Navarro, according to the suit.

"Defendant Scott and other conspirators have intentionally caused Plaintiff to be isolated and black-listed in her chosen field of employment; resulting in irreparable harm to Plaintiff's earning capacity and career prospects."

The lawsuit states Caffery in the future may "name other conspirators," including acting police officers, and managers or administrators within the city.

She claims she has suffered mental injury, humiliation and emotional distress and is seeking damages to be determined by the Court.

Caffery's attorneys acknowledge she isn't without fault.

"Where the inequity came in her case was that regardless of what she did in terms of yielding to the chief in whatever relationship they had or in withholding the part of the tape that the chief did himself that she did, for the purpose of protecting the chief and protecting Santiago, whatever mistakes she made about those things she did, the record shows come clean and in her later interviews with the FBI, tell everything truthfully as best as she could," said her other attorney, J. Lewis Cromer.

Randy Scott and the City of Columbia have 30 days to respond to the suit.

We has reached out to the city and Scott for comment.

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