A former Chester police chief says in a lawsuit that slanderous comments by other city officials led to his demotion to lieutenant colonel nearly a year ago.

Darren Alston says in the suit, filed in Delaware County Court, that he belatedly learned the reason for his demotion - a false rumor cited in discussions with other officials by new Mayor John Linder that he was under "investigation by federal authorities for involvement in either the sale of drugs and/or illegal firearms." He says the source of the false allegation was Joseph Bail Jr., who was appointed by Linder to succeed him as the head of the Police Department.

The lawsuit, filed against the city, Linder and Bail, seeks a preliminary injunction to block the defendants from slanderous comments against Alston. It also seeks monetary damages.

The Chester solicitor's office did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on the suit. A spokesman for the mayor declined comment. Bail could not be determined. - Tom Infield