Former Ga. Police Officer Claims Discrimination

VILLA RICA, Ga. --

A former Villa Rica police officer said he was discriminated against and fired after an injury that made it dangerous for him to continue his work as a patrol officer.

Kevin Roddy was an officer for more than two decades before he suffered an off-duty back injury. His doctors said if he continued to wear heavy protective gear and risk being put in situations where he may have to chase suspects, he could become paralyzed. Roddy went back to work anyways.

"I was scared," said Roddy. "But I knew as a police officer, if I had to do it and had to be there I would take that chance."

Roddy's wife, Sharon, said she worried too, but the most difficult part has been staying strong for their three children.

"We've tried to keep most of it from them and put on a happy face," said Sharon Roddy.

Kevin Roddy continued his work for a year and a half before doctors insisted he get surgery. Kevin said he asked his bosses if he could be moved to a job in the Criminal Investigation Division once he recovered. It's a job he'd held in the past.

"I liked the investigations," said Roddy. "It's like putting together a puzzle."

Instead of granting his requests, Kevin received a termination letter in the mail a few months after his surgery. The letter said he'd used up all his leave, and the city's attorney told CBS Atlanta they needed to fill his position.

"I've never been fired before," said Kevin. "That was a big shock."

Kevin filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In its findings, the commission agreed that Kevin was "denied a reasonable accommodation and discharged because of his disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

City officials have to respond to those findings within the week. CBS Atlanta asked the city's attorney why they couldn't move him to another open position, and he said he couldn't comment.

Kevin said even if the issue ends up being settled legally, he still has a tough question for the chief.

"Why?" asked Kevin. "He's made accommodations for people in the past. Why not me?"

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