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Letter confirms reasons behind Raleigh police officer's firing

Posted November 14, 2011
Updated December 15, 2011

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— A letter that appears to be from Raleigh's police chief confirms a former sergeant's claims that he was fired as part of a sexual misconduct investigation – an investigation in which the officer says the findings are untrue.

Rick Armstrong, a 14-year veteran of the Raleigh Police Department, was fired in June amid an internal investigation into allegations that he and other police officers were having sex with prostitutes.

Armstrong says he was terminated after the police department's Internal Affairs Unit found that he allegedly had sex with a woman who lived in a neighborhood that he patrolled.

He has repeatedly denied the claims and is appealing to the city's Civil Service Commission to get his job back. He is also suing the city for wrongful termination.

It's unclear where the Aug. 18 letter to Armstrong signed by Police Chief Harry Dolan, came from. WRAL News received it in the mail Monday from an anonymous source. Armstrong said he did not send it. The police department did not have a comment when asked about it Monday.

The department generally has also declined to comment on Armstrong's termination or the internal investigation, citing state law that prevents them from talking about personnel issues.

In the letter, Dolan addressed several issues stemming from an initial appeals hearing for Armstrong, then added his own findings based on the Internal Affairs report and statements Armstrong made during the hearing – most of which, according to Dolan, were grounds for termination.

"He, all of a sudden, brings things out that I had no idea (were) even part of the investigation and added additional charges that were completely false," Armstrong said. "I went in there defending the charges that were against me and found myself attempting to defend things completely different."

Dolan wrote that Armstrong improperly spoke about the internal investigation to a witness and to other officers – something he was specifically told not to do.

Dolan also accused him of repeatedly asking an informant for sex and exposing himself to her while in uniform.

"(It) is absolutely untrue," Armstrong said. "Internal Affairs actually did the investigation and found that to be not true, and the chief comes back and finds that to be sustained."

The chief goes on in the letter to say, "The facts of the investigation are very troubling, and I have not come to this decision lightly."

"I was insulted," Armstrong said. "Here I have an absolute impeccable record over the 14 years of service I've done for the police department, and for him to add additional charges on and to make comments like that, I think, were uncalled for."

Armstrong is the former head of the Raleigh Police Protective Association, a professional association that represents the interests of police officers.

He said he believes Dolan doesn't like the RPPA because it has disagreed with him in the past about how officers are promoted and their salary grades.

"Clearly there is some effort to illegally smear the former union president, Rick Armstrong," RPPA spokesman Rob Black said. "The RPPA is very concerned about that."

Armstrong and Black both said they believe the letter had to come from someone in Dolan's office. Black said that, if that were the case, it would be in violation of state law since Armstrong's case hasn't been resolved.

"The RPPA calls on the chief to open an investigation as to who in his office is breaking the law," Black said.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 15, 2011

    @awomnsptofview, if paying a prostitute $10 gives someone “ownership of the woman”, the same can be said for hiring a masseuse. You own them...for 60 minutes. Crazy, huh?

    So, what’s the diffference? Isn’t it merely the body parts used for the physical contact?

    Some people don’t like to touch strangers with their hands. Other people have no problem...they’ll even hug you. Why can’t the same be true for some people with their other body parts? Who are we to say what parts they can touch people with and what parts they can’t?

    Of course, all of the bad stuff that’s currently associated with prostitution is a result of it being illegal. (pimps, cops, street corners, etc.) Make it legal and it would be just like going to the massage experts at the mall. No stigma. Good money. Nunya business who they rub down...

  • hunter38 Nov 15, 2011

    And the plot thickens. This shall be a very interesting show. Do keep us informed WRAL.

  • dollibug Nov 15, 2011

    For those of you who are interested....please read this and sign it IF you agree.....http://www.change.org/petitions/north-carolina-judicial-system-and-north-carolina-general-assembly-make-sure-that-those-who-are-accused-get-a-fair-and-just-trial...
    Awareness of something like this needs to be known.....

  • dollibug Nov 15, 2011

    ++++I think we’re going to see a slanderous/libelous suit before all this over.

    Better be careful....as I have been through court with this type of lawsuit....had it all on paper....as PROOF IN EVIDENCE...and the JUDGE forced me to sign an apology agreement from the people who did it...OR I WOULD BE HELD IN CONTEMPT OF COURT....so...it does not really matter anymore....about anything....as those who are behind the black ROBE can do whatever they care to do...and there ain't nothing you can do about it....

  • dollibug Nov 15, 2011

    +++++Defend yourself in court but otherwise remain quiet. As in a murder trial it does not require a witness to get a conviction.

    You will indeed find out that anyone who cares to....will find a WAY to keep you from getting the truth out....and it is SO VERY TRUE....that there does NOT HAVE TO BE ANY SOLID EVIDENCE to get a person convicted....as was done this year in WAKE COUNTY COURT SYSTEM....CORRUPTION AND COVER UPS....it is EVERYWHERE....and especially in the government run agencies....they know what to do, when to do and how to do...and GET BY WITH DOING IT ALL.....

  • superman Nov 15, 2011

    If he had a good lawyer or if he was smart himself--he would remain silent. It will not help him to discuss what happened in public. He just needs to pick himself up and just move on and out. Surely he doesnt want to go back to work for the city. Putting your business "out in the street" is never a good idea. Defend yourself in court but otherwise remain quiet. As in a murder trial it does not require a witness to get a conviction.

  • awomnsptofview Nov 15, 2011

    Prostitution is degrading for women,period. It brings out crime after crime after crime. Every creep in the world who pays $10 thinks it gives him ownership of the woman he has hired. The same rule applies no matter the amount of money. No woman has EVER looked back and said, I'm glad I prostituted myself. Nothing good will ever come of legalizing this deplorable business..

  • superdad412 Nov 15, 2011

    What’s all this chatter about the appearance of this letter smearing Armstrong’s name? I don’t get that. How much worse can you possibly smear the man than what’s already been done? This letter, except for a few comments made by the chief, is really redundant. IMO this letter does not change anything.

    What I did note is the chief’s comments are directed toward Armstrong in a matter of fact manner, yet there is no proof attached to substantiate those derogatory statements. It appears the chief is acting on the word of others and the preponderance of intelligence that IA collected. I think we’re going to see a slanderous/libelous suit before all this over.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 15, 2011

    I just re-read the article. So, the officers didn't pay for sex? What if the woman was his girlfriend?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 15, 2011

    Why can't consenting adults have sex for cash? Who are you to say otherwise?

    Where are the so-called "less government" people?

    Prostitition is legal in Las Vegas, Amsterdam and other successful places. Why must you tell people, consenting adults and fellow U.S. citizens, what they can and cannot do?