Insurers pay $600K in Sophia racism case - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Insurers pay $600K in Sophia racism case

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Sophia Mayor Danny Barr says insurance companies will pay $600,000 to an ex-officer who sued the Police Department with claims he was harassed and fired because he is black.

Barr said Wednesday the amount of the settlement reached in March is more than the town's $560,000 annual budget.

He says there's no immediate cost to taxpayers. But Barr worries the deal may eventually raise insurance rates for a community of just 1,334 people.

Damon McDowell was fired after just six months on the job in 2012.

The police chief said he left a Beckley restaurant without paying his bill. McDowell claimed he was the victim of a racially motivated conspiracy cooked up to force him to resign.

Barr says the town was informed of but not involved in the settlement.

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