The former Lumberton police chief has filed a lawsuit against the city. He claims he was religiously discriminated and targeted by elected officials.
Carlus Page says he is a single father who enjoyed being police chief in the City of Lumberton, but months after starting, he claims he was forced to choose between his faith and work.
“I felt betrayed. I felt as if I had done something wrong, but in my heart, I knew I had only done what I was supposed to do.”
Since 2013, Page has been working on and off for the Lumberton Police Department.
He became full-time police chief in April 2018 after the previous chief Shane Flynt resigned after he was accused of smoking marijuana on camera.
“Ultimately he was forced to resign. The police department was left without a leadership.”
Upon agreeing to work as the chief, Page said he made clear his ministry at New Heights Church of Christ in Biloxi came first. He asked for Sundays off to preach, and he says the city agreed.
However, once he started his role, his request became a problem. He says he was subjected to social media slander from elected officials about being a preacher.
“I’ve had statements from them saying well he’s a pastor, but he the one that need prayer. He need a baptism and things like that. Making a mockery out of my faith.”
Four months after becoming chief, a special meeting was called by the Board of Aldermen, leaving the fate of his job in the hands of officials who he claims was retaliating against him.
Page says in August he learned he was “reclassified” as a patrolman through a meeting with the mayor. Below is a transcription of how part of the conversation went:
Mayor Quincy Rogers: It was a 5-0 vote.
Carlus Page: On what grounds?
Mayor Quincy Rogers: They didn’t actually give grounds. They just felt that with everything going on… as far as what they’re looking for.”
As a part-time patrolman, Page said he was scheduled to work less than 32 hours and was put on the schedule to work Sundays.
Soon after, Page resigned and hired a lawyer to file suit against the city for religious discrimination, retaliation, and tortious interference.
Even though Page had a trying time in the City of Lumberton, he mentioned being reinstated as an option in the lawsuit. He says there’s still more to be done.
“I believe that there’s still work to do, and I think that the citizens of Lumberton deserve it. They deserve to be led. They deserve to be protected.”
WJTV 12’s Lanaya Lewis reached out to the city of Lumberton for a comment and they have not responded back.