East Spencer pays former officer $50,000 to settle lawsuit
By Sara Gregory
EAST SPENCER ó The town settled with its former interim police chief for $50,000 to end a federal discrimination lawsuit.
East Spencer also will pay Lt. James Schmierer’s attorneys $15,000.
Schmierer had asked for in excess of $500,000 in damages in a March civil suit, in which he accused the town and four aldermen of racial discrimination.
Mayor Erma Jefferies said she was happy the town was able to settle the lawsuit.
The town settled through its insurance policy with the Interlocal Risk Financing Fund of North Carolina.
The lawsuit claimed several aldermen “blocked” Schmierer’s promotion to chief in December 2005, when Eric Williams, who is black, was hired.
Schmierer, who is white, took over as interim police chief when Williams resigned in 2007.
“Lt. Schmierer did a good job while he was here,” Jeffries said Wednesday. “There was some misunderstanding so far as the chief’s position was concerned.”
Schmierer’s lawsuit was settled June 5.
As part of the the settlement, Schmierer agreed to resign from his employment with the town, effective June 11. Schmierer will remain in a reserve police officer status for the next six months.