MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A veteran Memphis Fire Lieutenant has proof he was verbally and physically assaulted by a Deputy Fire Chief. He says the fire department is guilty of covering up the entire affair. ABC 24 News has a copy of an audio tape that could change everything.
It was ABC 24 investigative reporter Jeni DiPrizio that first told you the story of Lieutenant Reginald Davis. He claims he was verbally and physically battered by Deputy Chief Daryl Payton.
The fire department investigated and they suspended Lieutenant Davis with pay for a short period of time; they never did anything to the Deputy Chief.
Now Davis' lawyer says they have a tape that shows fire bosses are guilty of a cover up.
Lieutenant Davis was at the airport fire station and he didn't like what he saw. Firefighters need special training there. He didn't have it, other men didn't have it.
His lawyer, Brenda Oats-Williams, told abc24.com, "He contacted the command staff, you know, he's trying to get them. He says, 'Look, I'm uncertified, I don't even want to be here because I'm uncertified. I'm not trained. I've got crew not trained. If we get a fire, there will be some lives lost.'"
It was last June when this happened. Deputy Chief Daryl Payton went to talk with Lieutenant Davis. It quickly turned into a shouting match with obscenities. So much so that Davis said he needed to leave.
"He said, 'I'm not going to take this anymore. This meeting is over,'" Oats-Williams stated. "He gets up, he leaves. Chief Payton pursues him."
The entire incident had been one man's word versus another. That was until last week, when Brenda Oats-Williams says they got a chance to listen to tape recorded conversations made at fire headquarters that day.
"Get your hands off of me!"
"Now what you hear on this tape is Lieutenant Davis trying to call, and fight off Chief Payton at the same time. He's trying to snatch the phone and Lt. Davis was trying to keep him from taking the phone. That's when you hear Lt. Davis say, 'Get off of me, get off of me,'" Oat-Williams said.
Davis was listening to the tape with us. His lawyer didn't want him to say anything, but there were times when he became emotional while listening to the tape.
We did not hear any actual fighting, but Davis has said he was thrown to the floor where he suffered a sprained wrist and a broken finger.
"We have a tape that we believe is - well I don't believe, I know - substantiates he was telling the truth all the time. He was assaulted by this man. He was injured by this man. And the command staff response was to cover it up."
Both men continue to work for the fire department. A spokesman for the department said this incident has been investigated, and it's over.
No action was ever taken against Deputy Chief Daryl Payton.