Last week, writer Leigh Tauss wrote about Kevin Coppage, a former division chief with the Raleigh Fire Department who filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city for denying him promotions over the course of his career based on his race. After the complaint was filed, Coppage was harassed with anonymous text messages, presumably from his RFD colleagues, that accused him of harassing his co-workers. Well, readers wrote to us, too—some slightly incoherently—to tell us that we don’t have all the sides of the story.
“A lot of false statement in this report,” wrote Facebook commenter Walk Tumble. “Think about it why would Coppage agreed to take a voluntary dismissal when he could get millions. The DWI would not have been a factor until his original statement to the chief’s was not true. Their has got to be additional details his job performance and actions in this matter for a black educated veteran not to receive a promotion in the liberal city of Raleigh NC. Remember their are three sides to a story, the plaintiff, the defendant and a thin line in the middle is the truth. Harvey hire date was 2-14-91 F-456, Coppage hire date was 05-13-1994 F 522 so how did Coppage train Harvey? RFD history website, legeros”
We suggest you reread the story to decipher that one.
And, in an email to us, Cassie L. wrote that Coppage “has HR complaints against him,” a point that was alluded to in the story via the substance of the anonymous text messages but that the INDY couldn’t verify due to personnel laws.
“Shame on you for hearing his one-sided version of the story and spinning it into a race article, when he has hurt so many others,” Cassie wrote. “It’s men like him who use their power to make their way through life, and you fed right into his self-serving bias. How do you think your story makes those women, who he harassed, feel? He made the choice to resign before the stories about his misconduct with female firefighters came out and tarnished the story he had been creating about himself. He sold you on a race story to cover up who he actually is, and you fell hook-line-and sinker for it.”
Not sure how reporting on a racial discrimination lawsuit constitutes our “spinning it into a race article,” but I think we all agree, it’d be helpful if the City of Raleigh would weigh in here.