Local News

Official: 'Political Intervention' Prevented Due Process in Trooper Firing

Posted April 18, 2008

— A senior member of the North Carolina Highway Patrol says he was forced, by political pressure from the governor’s press office, to fire a sergeant without due process.

Lt. Col. Cecil Lockley fired Sgt. Charles Jones after a fellow trooper turned over a cell phone video of Jones allegedly using abusive training techniques with his police dog, Ricoh.

Jones, who coordinated K-9 training for the Highway Patrol, sued the state, alleging that procedures were violated when he was fired in September.

In a deposition Tuesday, Lockley testified that, in his opinion, “unlawful political intervention occurred in this case.”

“If the governor’s press office had not intervened in this matter and (had) let the case run its course, I would not have come to the same conclusion as I did on Sep. 9, 2007,” Lockley wrote.

However, in documents filed in court late Friday, the Highway Patrol said Lockley's actions were not the final decision and that it was ultimately the decision of Bryan Beatty, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety.

"Therefore, any potential violation of policy or procedure on behalf of Lt. Colonel Lockley was remedied by Secretary Beatty's subsequent and independent review of all relevant and pertinent information prior to entering the final decision," the state asserted.

The governor's press office would not comment Friday, citing the pending litigation.

Court documents described the incident, which began when Ricoh refused to release a chew reward, as Jones was tying the dog's leash to a high railing so that only his hind legs touched the ground, then kicking the dog four times to leave it dangling on its leash and collar.

In his lawsuit, Jones cites training techniques the general public might not understand.

Lockley said he felt Jones "acted in the manner he was trained."

The video hasn't been released, and a spokesperson for the patrol says the district attorney is reviewing it for possible criminal charges.

Jones' civil trial begins April 28.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • mrr03 Apr 18, 2008


  • FE Apr 18, 2008

    This story is NOT about the canine. It's about how things "operate" between the Guv's office, Beatty's office, and the NCSHP. A LOT of good ole boy stuff goes on behind the scenes that the general public just never knows about.

  • doubletrouble Apr 18, 2008

    I have to agree in some regards, that training a police dog, or military K-9 takes some stricter measures...than a normal civilian in life might be able to see or appreciate. I knew a gentleman who has now passed, who was in the Marine K-9 Corps, back during Vietnam- and if the general public knew what he stated he had to do to get complete devotion and was part of the training...most folks say it would be sick, wierd, etc. In these instances the dog isn't a pet(though there is a very close bond between trainer and dog, as a pet would be), it is first and formost a tool, a weapon of war...designed/trained to protect it's owner to it's last breath, and do as commanded without hesitation. Things may have changed since this gentleman's training..but, it is probably still a strict code of training and discipline, even today. These dogs are tools, and something more. Most K-9 Cops I know, have the same love for their "partners"...as any furry member of your family.

  • mydadsaid Apr 18, 2008

    The inside: Charles Jones’ wife Angie is Lockley’s and Col Clay’s secretary. Lockley feels guilty for firing her husband. Lockley is retiring and is now trying to help Jones get his job back! That is the bottom line.

  • hawkdaddy138 Apr 18, 2008

    Animal lovers: Police K9's are not trained to fetch the evening newspaper or your bedroom slippers, they are trained to take violent criminals into custody and save law enforcement officers' lives. Therefore, they are trained with strict discipline that you, as an average pet owner or animal lover, would bever understand. So know what you are talking about before running down Sgt. Jones. He handled his K9 with love but knew when it was time for discipline. I know him well and saw him daily, his K9 was always by his side. WRAL writers: please only post the facts, the DA is NOT reviewing the video for possible criminal charges, that is a complete false statement which was only intended to hurt the image of the NCSHP and Sgt Jones and add some sensation to this story.

  • CrewMax Apr 18, 2008

    And they let this guy carry a firearm? He should not only have been fired, he should be sharing a cell with the Michael Vick.

  • Vietnam Vet Apr 18, 2008

    I know absolutely nothing about methods used in training police dogs but I do know when I see a politician overstepping his authority and failing to abide by the rules and law in place. You gotta love politicians...NOT!!!

  • gpd Apr 18, 2008

    They truly are some amazing Criminal Justice Professionals.

  • clover1019 Apr 18, 2008

    yea...if i had kids i would probably treat my pets better, yea dogs ARE pack animals-but when they fight their leader they are equals-one might be stronger but that is survival of the fittest. That dog chooses to be apart of that pack should it defy the pack or leader-it has no leash around its neck for the leader to drag him down by. No animal deserves to be treated like that. Training doesnt matter either-some dogs are just born mean- i was vet tech i have seen it. Maybe those just need a little more training or other techniques. You can research all you want-but until you are around them-day after day-you don't really know what different dogs are like. That dog should have chewed him up.

  • lizard Apr 18, 2008

    fire the governor. Quit voting liberals into office. They tinker with everything to the mess it up.