Local News

Trooper fired for kicking police dog wins again in court

Posted February 7, 2012

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Charles Jones, who was dismissed from the State Highway Patrol in September 2007 for kicking a K-9, should be reinstated with back pay.  

Jones was fired after another trooper turned over two 15-second video clips of Jones suspending his K-9 partner, Ricoh, from a railing and kicking him repeatedly to force him to release a chew toy.

Patrol leaders said they initially planned to discipline Jones but decided to fire him when then-Gov. Mike Easley's office intervened.

In its ruling, the court notes testimony from Jones' former supervisor, Lt. Col. Cecil Lockley, who said, "They want him gone," referring to the governor's office, and "the decision regarding Sgt. Jones' career was predetermined, not by the Patrol's disciplinary process but by an outside entity."

Lockley called Jones' method of disciplining Ricoh "ugly," but said it did not fall outside the realm of patrol-accepted training techniques.

Jones couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment, so it's unclear whether he plans to return to the Highway Patrol. He now works for the Apex Police Department, where he was hired four months after the patrol fired him.

Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon declined to comment on a possible appeal to the North Carolina Supreme Court, saying patrol officers haven't had a chance to review the decision or discuss it with the Attorney General's Office.

In 2008, the State Personnel Commission found Jones' punishment too harsh and ordered that he be reinstated.

Since then, his case has wound through the courts. Tuesday's ruling is the latest in a series to agree that the Highway Patrol did not have cause to dismiss him.

His back pay is believed to be between $200,000 and $240,000.

Ex-trooper Charles Jones Fired trooper now decorated office in Apex

"We have been confident from day one that Charles Jones was doing was he was told to do, what he was trained to do," said John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association. "These dogs are not pets. They are deadly weapons, and (if they are) not handled properly, people can get hurt – innocent people can get hurt."

The Apex Police Department has promoted Jones twice, and was named the Town Employee of the Year in 2010.

He was also awarded the police department's Medal of Valor and Meritorious Service Medal. Town Manager Bruce Radford said Jones saved lives as the first officer to enter a local Target store after an armed gunman began firing in May 2010.

"We're not surprised by the valor and the credibility of Trooper Jones," Midgette said. "He's an outstanding credit to the profession. What is so sad is what he and his family have had to go through."

375 Comments

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  • prachmat Feb 10, 2012

    The lynch mob mentality of some of these responses is scary. Most of them do not know Mr. Jones, have never met him, and have no idea of the kind of person he is. Apparently understanding the difference between sweeping and kicking is also beyond the ability of many to comprehend. This man is a great human being whose life has been disrupted for 5 years because of some unnamed vendetta that a disgraced former politician was allowed to carry out. I am impressed with the Police Department in Angier and am very glad they were able to see beyond the smoke and mirrors. If I were in trouble and unable to handle it myself, I would be delighted to have Mr. Jones on the scene. If you don't know him, stop being stupid. You are entitle to an opinion on the issue - not the person.

  • leo-nc Feb 8, 2012

    "Lockley called Jones' method of disciplining Ricoh "ugly," but said it did not fall outside the realm of patrol-accepted training techniques. REALLY THEN THEY NEED SOME NEW TRAINING TECHNIQUES THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE PHYSICAL ABUSE OF AN ANIMAL"----

    If you bother to read the history of the K9 program at the highway patrol, you would know that they ended the program and then reinstated it after changing their training techniques and policy and after major reviews. The K9 program now is completely different and no negative techniques are used. The issue with Jones is NOT about the dog... it's about the way he was fired and the lack of due process. PERIOD

  • pamclaire Feb 8, 2012

    I do not know how to train a dog but I do know what abuse is and he should have too. It was not right. It was abuse no matter what they say and I say to them. If other officers done it too then the Hwy Patrol needs to clean house and start all over.

  • piene2 Feb 8, 2012

    " How else are you going to train the dog to get kicked while tackling a perp if you don't first kick it?
    Big Blue"

    As I stated in another post, do you than think that the dog should be shot just a little bit to get him used to being shot?

  • agrippamom Feb 8, 2012

    If abusing an dog is considered 'normal' dog training techniques, then there's something wrong with the whole unit.

    Jones should have been charged with animal abuse. He's NOT above the law. If I did that (which I NEVER would), you can bet I would have been arrested, and rightfully so. If you wear a badge, are you really supposed to be above the law and enabled by the courts?

    What's the point of passing stricter animal abuse laws if the whole system, and the people who are supposed to enforce the law, are rotten?

  • harrismeg3 Feb 8, 2012

    I think it is incredible that Charles Jones was acquitted for the kicks he gave that dog! From the news, it seems the dog was already trained. I question what kind of brutality would he use on the job as a State Patrolman. I find it a frightening thought.
    Principe

  • news4u Feb 8, 2012

    Sad, sad, sad...

  • dontstopnow Feb 8, 2012

    Big Blue, I am really confused at your posting on how to train a dog to deal with getting kicked. but rather than explain this to you, why don't you head over to my home, where I have 3 German Shepherds that are trained to take orders, and let them demonstrate the 'dog kicking' response to you. Yeah first hand learning on GSDs.

  • spdyson Feb 8, 2012

    Lockley called Jones' method of disciplining Ricoh "ugly," but said it did not fall outside the realm of patrol-accepted training techniques. REALLY THEN THEY NEED SOME NEW TRAINING TECHNIQUES THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE PHYSICAL ABUSE OF AN ANIMAL

  • Big Blue Feb 8, 2012

    "he has been off the job for what 5 years then he needs retrained so hang him from a rail and start knicking him around . If this is the best the highway patrol has , disbain the patrol ."
    gphotohound2
    Try reading the article again. It said he picked up a new position with Apex PD 4 months after being let go by the State.

    As far as kicking the dog, I can see why it would be part of the training. They even have the department quoted saying "it did not fall outside the realm of patrol-accepted training techniques." How else are you going to train the dog to get kicked while tackling a perp if you don't first kick it? I'm not saying it is nice and cuddly, but you can't reason with the dog to get him to understand - he needs to be shown. You don't have to like it, but you also don't trust your life with that dog doing his job when he is supposed to either.

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