Second discrimination lawsuit filed against Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office


UPDATE: Dominic Franks filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging a hostile work environment, racial harassment and retaliation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“Some of the things have been extremely egregious things in fact some of the worst things I’ve seen in a while,” said attorney Tyrell Clemons, of the Clemons Law Firm.

Franks is suing the Beaufort County Sheriff Office as well as employees in the office including Sheriff Ernie Coleman.

Franks is being represented by attorney Tyrell Clemons.

“The allegations that are alleged in this complaint are very concerning. We live in a time right now where there is so much distrust with the police, with law enforcement. W members of the law enforcement are doing this to each other what happens to a person who doesn’t have a badge,” said Clemons.

The lawsuit filed in district court describes incidents, where Franks was called racial names. The documents state one deputy even held a loaded gun to franks’ head while saying racial slurs. Frank said he reported the incidents to his supervisor but the sheriff’s office retaliated with harassment and extra duty. 

“To be called the n word on multiple occasions, to be called money boy on multiple occasions to be in a situation where he doesn’t feel like he’s safe. Youre talking about a person who has fought for our country in the military as well as a law enforcement officials doing everything he thought was right,” Clemons said.

Franks resigned from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office in February 2017 in lieu of termination after unbearable stress, pain and suffering. 

He along with his attorney both say they’re speaking out in hopes of stopping this alleged treatment.

“He has to fight he fought for our country, he fought to help people in the street now he’s fighting for not only himself but to make a change in the way law enforcement is done in Beaufort County,” Clemons said.

We did reach out to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Rose said they have no comment because they haven’t been served a lawsuit.

Statement from Sheriff Ernie Coleman:

“The allegations described in the lawsuit are not true, and we are confident that this will be proven in court. Our answer to the lawsuit, which will be filed with the court soon, will speak for itself. Beyond that, we have not further comment while this is in litigation,” said Coleman.

We will continue to follow and update you on these cases.

UPDATE: A second former Beaufort County Sheriff’s deputy has filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination at the Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Greenville. former Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputy Dominic Franks filed a discrimination lawsuit against Sheriff Ernie Coleman and the sheriff’s office.

On June 6 in U.S. District Court in Greenville, the first discrimination lawsuit against the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office was filed by former deputy Michael Roy Sheppard.

We’re gathering new details on the new lawsuit filed Tuesday, and will update this story on-air and online.


There are claims of discrimination by the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office by a former employee. 

Two former deputies with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said they were called racial slurs while working for the office and believe the treatment is still happening.

So far the only one has taken legal action against the sheriff’s office.

Former Beaufort Sheriff Deputy Michael Sheppard filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office last week accusing them of job discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

In the lawsuit which 9 on your side has obtained, its states discrimination happened between October 2016 and February 2017.    

Sheppard said he did file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of retaliation after reporting that a coworker was being called racist names. 

He said is why he was fired.

Documents show the EEOC did find the sheriff’s office in violation of retaliation. 

Sheriff Ernie Coleman, Chief deputy Charlie Rose, Lt. Kelly Cox, and Sgt. William Ragland are named in the lawsuit. 

Chief Deputy Rose said he’s unaware of the lawsuit.   

Another former sheriff deputy plans to file a lawsuit against the office claiming racial discrimination. The man, who wants to remain anonymous, said he started working for the sheriff’s office in July 2015 and experienced a racially charged hostile work environment.

He said there were several incidents that happened which he reported to human resources but nothing happened instead he said the office retaliated. 

We will continue to follow this story and update you as more information is released. 


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