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Race not an issue in Durham assistant chief's denied promotion, city says

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Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes filed a complaint accusing Chief Jose Lopez of overlooking black officers for promotions. Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes filed a complaint accusing Chief Jose Lopez of overlooking black officers for promotions.
DURHAM, N.C. -

An independent investigation into claims against Durham's police chief found the complainant was not discriminated against.

Assistant Police Chief Winslow Forbes, who joined the Durham Police Department in 1988, filed a complaint accusing Chief Jose Lopez of overlooking black officers for promotions. The complaint also details a female black officer being passed over because of her speech.

Forbes said he confronted Lopez last summer after losing out on a promotion to a white applicant. The assistant chief claims Lopez became "defensive and angry."

Forbes claims Lopez retaliated by denying him another promotion earlier this year.

In response to the complaint, the City of Durham commissioned an independent, outside investigation, which concluded "there was no evidence that the assistant chief was discriminated against, in race, gender or age."

A formal complaint has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the City Attorney's Office and the Human Resources Department say they are working in full cooperation with the EEOC.

Caitlyn Thomson, attorney for Forbes, said the complaint was filed "to rectify a situation that affects the entire city of Durham.

"It's not a bottom-up organization; it's a top-down organization. And the chief sets the standard," Thomson said.

Forbes also claims in 2011, Lopez said a female black lieutenant would not be a good candidate for promotion "because of her speech." In the filed complaint, her speech was characterized as "African-American vernacular English."

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