According to the lawsuit, Buice was told he was being terminated for dishonesty, interfering with an investigation and failing to perform his duty.
The lawsuit states Buice’s supervisor, Assistant Chief Marcelino LaBoy, told him the termination was not personal and he’d been caught in a “political racial war.” Under Taylor’s leadership, several white employees in upper management were replaced by Black employees “in what amounted to a race based spoils system,” the lawsuit says, adding that Buice was fired on “a pretext.”
The upper ranks of the sheriff’s office went from predominantly white to predominantly Black, said Billips.
“It’s not a problem in and of itself,” Billips said. “It is a problem if the reason for it is the desire to have people of a particular race in those positions, and it doesn’t matter what race you’re talking about, racial discrimination is racial discrimination.”
LaBoy did not return a message seeking comment.
The sheriff’s office Thursday issued a statement that reads, in part, “Race, color, ethnicity, age, gender, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation is not a factor in determining the employment, termination, or promotional advancement of employees within our agency.” The office declined to elaborate further, citing the pending nature of the litigation.
Buice is employed with another law enforcement agency in metro Atlanta, Billips said.
He is suing under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial, back pay from the date of Buice’s termination, damages for mental and emotional suffering, punitive damages, retroactive reinstatement or pay in lieu of it, attorney’s fees and a ruling that Buice’s rights were violated.