Airport police lawsuit claims mistreatment and low pay

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Former Airport Director Jerry Orr officially retired from the newly formed airport commission after helping build Charlotte Douglas International Airport for the last four decades.

Orr announced his decision earlier this month.

In a letter, he said he hoped leaving his position will help resolve the ongoing dispute over who should run the city's airport.

Interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle will take his title.

Eyewitness News uncovered claims in the legal battle over police protection at the airport.

In September, more than a dozen airport officers filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination and less pay.

Anchor Allison Latos dug through new documents that argue the city reneged on its plans to treat airport police as equals, once the state tried to take the airport away.

In new court documents, the attorney for airport police officers outlined new claims against the City of Charlotte.
More than a dozen airport officers are suing saying they've been mistreated and under paid.

They said it all stems from the fight between the city and state for control of the airport, especially since the airport officers worked for Orr who supported a regional commission in charge.

The filing claims since the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department took over airport security in 2012, there are, "...three tiers of pay for police officers working side-by-side doing exactly the same work... the city had announced its plan to fully credit plaintiffs' police experience on the CMPD pay scale and treat them as equal officers."

The documents state now the city won't recognize officers' work at the airport for their police experience.

One officer told Eyewitness News on Tuesday, he would be forced to attend the academy and start over as a cadet after more than a decade at the airport.

The city has defended the lesser pay by telling courts that Charlotte could save money by using airport officers, "To perform minor police-related or administrative functions similar to functions provided by TSA personnel."

The city wanted the lawsuit tossed, but the new filings fight to keep it alive.

The city's response to the new claims is due on Thursday.

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