A Beaver County Sheriff’s Deputy has filed factually untrue complaints against County Commissioners with state and federal agencies while continuing his attempts at asserting a claim of racial harassment.
Deputy David Hunter has filed formal complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging Commissioners Dan Camp and Sandie Egley discriminated against him because he is an African American and then retaliated against him after he complained about it.
David Hunter’s complaints began back in July of 2016, when the Deputy went to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) complaining that County Commissioners had provided to the Beaver Countian a photograph of him conducting a traffic stop, and had later leaked a conversation recorded by the 911 Center between himself and a County Dispatcher related to overtime pay. Hunter expressed to the FOP that he believed Commissioners had decided to target him and then leak the information to the Beaver Countian because he is an African American.
The Beaver Countian did not identify David Hunter by name in the article where the photograph in question was originally published, which concerned the duties being performed by Sheriff’s Deputies as they related to a budget dispute between the Commissioners and Sheriff Tony Guy. Hunter could not be seen in the photograph either, which depicted only a Sheriff’s Department vehicle.
Contrary to Hunter’s assertions, the Beaver Countian made a records request for recorded dispatch conversations as a result of a tip it received from a confidential source. The individual had heard a matter of interest involving the transporting of a prisoner over their home police scanner one night and notified the Beaver Countian about it; prisoner transports were also a subject being debated in budget talks between County Commissioners and Sheriff Guy.
The recordings were provided to the Beaver Countian for publication by the County’s Law Department following a legal review via an email dated Thursday, July 21, 2016 from then-Chief County Solicitor Andrea Cantelmi. The Beaver Countian then sent copies of the recordings to the Sheriff’s Office Solicitor that same day seeking comment. The Sheriff’s Office spoke with David Hunter about what could be heard on the recording and released a statement to the Beaver Countian on July 22nd explaining the Deputy’s conversation with the Dispatcher.
The Beaver Countian ultimately made a decision the tape was not newsworthy enough to warrant coverage at the time.
Despite a true and accurate detailing of events published by the Beaver Countian, Hunter continued to allege the files had been leaked to the Beaver Countian because of his race. A representative for the Fraternal Order of Police met with Commissioner Dan Camp on the subject, and had informed Deputy Hunter they felt he was wrong in his belief that he was discriminated against because he is African American. The FOP suggested Hunter not proceed forward with any further complaints about the matter.
Deputy Hunter decided against heeding the FOP’s guidance, filing a complaint with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sometime in September. The NAACP began a private investigation into the matter in October based on the information provided by Hunter. Although the NAACP never contacted the Beaver Countian as part of its investigation, it concluded the deputy’s “civil rights” had been violated and sent its findings to the Board of Commissioners in November:
“[Deputy David Hunter] was being followed by an individual who took pictures of him making a traffic stop, which is a part of his duties as Deputy Sheriff. That individual then sent this information, with pictures, to the Chief Clerk, Joseph Weider (sic), who forwarded the information to Commissioner Chair Sandie Egley, County Solicitor Andrea Cantelmi and [Commissioner Dan Camp]. These individuals made a decision to release a police dispatcher tape to Reporter, John Paul of the Beaver Countian, who publicized this information on his blog. Under Pennsylvania’s new ‘Right-to-Know’ law, this matter needs to be investigated further. Out of all the hundreds of police dispatcher tapes in Beaver County, Deputy Sheriff David Hunter’s conversation with the dispatcher was singled out. Mr. Hunter was performing his duties, and these acts showed bias and intent to discredit him, him being one of the few African American sheriff deputies in that department.”
Deputy David Hunter subsequently filed formal written complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) dated February 7th of this year:
“I filed a complaint to the NAACP alleging that I was being singled out because of my race, Black. In November 2016, Robert Jones of the NAACP, investigated my complaint and sent a letter of his findings to the Respondent. In November 2016, Egley submitted the July 2016 recorded call between me and the 911 Center to the Beaver Countian which was posted to the public site. The Respondent’s actions were retaliatory because it was only after Respondent became aware that I filed a complaint to the NAACP that the July 2016 recorded call was submitted to the Beaver Countian for posting. Based upon the foregoing, I allege that the Respondent violated Section 5(d) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act 43 P.S. 951-636.”
Deputy David Hunter’s untrue allegation that Commissioner Egley released the tape to the Beaver Countian in November of 2016 — as retaliation for him making a complaint to the NAACP — is directly contradicted by his own original complaints to both the NAACP and FOP, by the actual Beaver Countian articles he references in his written statement, and by the fact that the Beaver Countian sent copies of the recordings to the Sheriff’s Office for comment in July after receiving them from the County’s Law Department.
Hunter’s new complaint that the tape was released to the Beaver Countian as retaliation for filing his original complaints is significant, as the specific subsection of the law that Hunter now alleges the Commissioners violated could entitle him to receive monetary compensation for purported damages caused by humiliation and embarrassment.
“The harassment was severe because my character was publicly defamed which put me in danger of harm,” continued Hunter in his complaint to state and federal officials. “I was detrimentally affected because the harassing actions caused me stress and anxiety. The actions were damaging to my personal and professional reputation, negatively impacted my family, and put us at risk for harm.”
As part of Deputy Hunter’s written complaint to state and federal officials, he signed a verification statement attesting the information he was providing is, “true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief.” The signed verification goes on to state, “I understand that false statements herein are made subject to the penalties of 18 PA.C.S. 4904, relating to unsworn falsifications to authorities.”
The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission has scheduled a “fact-finding conference” for Deputy David Hunter’s complaint on August 8th at their offices in Pittsburgh.
– Commissioner Camp Calls Foul After Sheriff Guy Says He Is “Unable” To Comply With His Budget
– An Open Letter To FOP President David Piuri From Beaver Countian Founder John Paul
– NAACP Investigating Commissioner Dan Camp After Sheriff’s Deputy Alleges Possible Racial Bias And Harassment
– NAACP Investigation Concludes County Commissioners Violated African American Sheriff Deputy’s Civil Rights