City settles lawsuits with 2 detectives, who agree to resign

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The city of Clarksville has settled racial discrimination lawsuits with two Police Department detectives, who have now resigned.

City officials announced yesterday they had negotiated settlements with Tony Blakely and Kenneth Austion -- both of whom had filed second lawsuits.

Under announced terms, Blakely will receive $650,000 to settle his two suits against the city. He also will receive up to five years of paid health and dental insurance and will get more than $6,000 in accrued vacation pay.

Austion will get $750,000 to settle his remaining lawsuit. The resignations of the detectives were part of the settlements.

Blakely and Austion filed the first of what became 14 discrimination lawsuits against the city. Mayor Johnny Piper, who took office in January, says the settlements came after six weeks of negotiations.

He wouldn't say whether other lawsuits are being negotiated, but said the settlements should "generate a new direction" in the police department.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)