After being forced to retire over racial discrimination allegations and rising crime, Columbus, Georgia’s former police chief has been hired as a middle school social studies teacher.
Freddie Blackmon, who was paid $400,000 by the city council to retire from his law enforcement position after being sued for racial discrimination, is now employed as a social studies teacher at Fort Middle School in Muscogee County School District.
Blackmon served in law enforcement for 37 years before his reluctant retirement in April.
Pressure to retire reportedly came from Mayor Skip Henderson following a string of shootings that occurred in the city, including one where nine children were wounded at a gas station in February.
The mayor’s move came the day after Blackmon presented his annual strategic plan, according to AP News.
Blackmon initially asked for $850,000 to step down, and even threatened to sue the city of Columbus for racial discrimination. He later agreed to $400,000.
The city also paid $600,000 to settle claims that Blackmon racially discriminated against two white officers when he became police chief in 2020.
The lawsuit alleged the former chief avoided promoting two white captains by changing the rules so he could promote lieutenants instead.
The two plaintiffs were classified as “highly recommended for promotion” and should have been promoted before people with lower evaluations, the AP reported.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Lt. Ralph Dowe, testified before the Columbus City Council and played a role in Blackmon’s removal from the force.
Henderson said both the plaintiffs will remain on the police force.
It is unclear how Blackmon qualified to become a teacher, though Georgia offers alternative teacher preparation programs that allows candidates with a bachelor’s degree in unrelated fields to teach while obtaining their teaching license.
The middle school is expected to have around 500 students in attendance this year, the AP reports.
Neither the school nor Blackmon responded to the AP’s requests for comment.