Former Atlantic Beach police chief sues town for libel, defamation

Former Atlantic Beach Police Chief Timothy Taylor is suing the town for libel and defamation, claiming false accusations damaged his reputation, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 2.

Last year, Taylor was arrested in connection with domestic violence on Sept. 5 and was placed on administrative leave with pay while the case was under investigation.

But in October, a magistrate judge dismissed those charges against Taylor and the town decided to fire him anyways.

According to the lawsuit, the Town of Atlantic Beach performed an internal audit, allegedly to investigate the police department’s operations.

The lawsuit claims that the town fired Taylor on Oct. 30 after accusing him of stealing $650 from an evidence room, an accusation that Taylor says is false.

Officer Quentin Robinson, who took over Taylor’s position, wrote a letter to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and allegedly said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was investigating Taylor — which was also a false statement, the suit states.

SLED cleared Taylor of any wrongdoing and Taylor filed a grievance that was later denied.

“Plaintiff’s reputation has been damaged, Plaintiff has suffered emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment and Plaintiff has also suffered the loss of future earnings,” the complaint states.

Atlantic Beach Town Manager Benjamin Quattlebaum declined to comment on the lawsuit and said he wasn’t aware of it.

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles