Local News

Former K-9 trooper, Highway Patrol face off over firing

Posted August 21, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A state trooper who was fired for abusing his K-9 partner faced off against his former employer Thursday as both sides argued whether the trooper’s dismissal was appropriate.

The State Personnel Commission listened to both sides. It will decide later whether Charles Jones should be reinstated, and that decision is expected to be appealed to Superior Court.

Jones was fired last September after another trooper turned over two 15-second video clips of Jones suspending his dog, Ricoh, from a railing and kicking the dog repeatedly to force it to release a chew toy.

Jones was a “fine trooper,” according to his lawyer, Jack O'Hale, and had to be forceful with Ricoh, which some in the Highway Patrol described as a “maniac on a leash” and a “crackhead.”

“Ricoh is a weapon. He was trained to bite. He has 1,400 pounds-per-square inch bite force,” O'Hale told the commission. “When you’re dealing with deadly weapons, you have to have vigorous training.

"The bottom line was they were taught to do what was necessary to control their dog," he said.

"There are a lot of things that law enforcement officers do that don't look good, that look dangerous, that are dangerous," said John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association. "But that's why not everybody's a police officer. As long as they're within training and law, that's what we have to go by."

The Highway Patrol said Jones crossed the line from training to abuse and fired him.

“(Jones’) actions speak for themselves. The video is clear,” said Assistant Attorney General Ashby Ray, who represented the patrol. “He kicked Ricoh not once, not twice, but five times.

"(This) was not what he was trained to do, not consistent with his training, not acceptable personal conduct."

Although the highway patrol's training manual doesn't list unacceptable training techniques for K-9s, Ray said common sense should tell people that kicking a dog would fall into such a list.

"The patrol doesn't have a policy that says we can't wrap a dog in a blanket and throw it into a river, but no one here would think that was acceptable just because we don't have a policy that says you can't do it," he said.

The state has suspended the patrol's K-9 program in April until its training manual could be reviewed and revised.

In June, a state administrative law judge ruled there was no just cause to fire Jones and recommended that he get his job back.

Judge Fred Morrison said public outcry from the cell phone video resulted in political pressure from Gov. Mike Easley’s office to fire Jones instead of suspending him. That, the judge said, violated the patrol's personnel policies.

The firing came amid a series of missteps by state troopers that included drunken driving, on-the-job sex and profiling women for traffic stops.

"We all deal with politics, but in this case, because of politics, there was a rush to judgment," O'Hale told the commission Thursday.

The patrol denied that politics played a role.

“The governor never ordered (Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Bryan Beatty) to fire anybody. He made his own decision to do that,” Ray said.

Jones now works for the Apex Police Department.

134 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    leo-nc its Dr. Dataclerk. Show some respect, will you. Thanks.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    If he wants to be a He man so bad, join the MARINES and go fight oversea's!This goes for all the jar head Troopers who think they are so tough !

    Well spoken. Most are like women soft and not strong like a real man. :)

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    Dataclerk,

    Your comments are exactly what I'm talking about. You people on here do a lot of assuming but you don't know the real story on the ones you attempt to judge. You're making an assumption of a person's entire personality on what you see as less than 30 seconds of their life, without having any perspective on what happened before or after. You have it all figured out though I'm sure.
    leo-nc

    Ladida ladida yayayaya I stand by my comment darling. Your words are nothing to me. Hey, they can put you in a cell in prison beside of him. There you will face the consequences. I sure hope now he goes to prison. Even looking at his face he has a lot of anger showing. If he did this to a dog, what would he have done to a human being? You need to rethink on this. I would never on the otherhand treat an animal like that. I am glad someone had the proof of pictures for all to see. Nothing you can doubt about that, now can you darling. lol lol On to prison he goes. lol

  • leo-nc Aug 22, 2008

    Dataclerk,

    Your comments are exactly what I'm talking about. You people on here do a lot of assuming but you don't know the real story on the ones you attempt to judge. You're making an assumption of a person's entire personality on what you see as less than 30 seconds of their life, without having any perspective on what happened before or after. You have it all figured out though I'm sure.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    After this case is over, he should never be allowed to be a policeman or anything related in that field for the rest of his life. Suppose with that kind of anger he would have done that to a human being instead of a dog. 1 year in prison is what he needs.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Aug 22, 2008

    I still maintain 1 year in prison should teach him something. He is not above the law. Treat him like you would anyone else.

  • nandud Aug 21, 2008

    Oh no, I live in Apex. I hope he doesn't kick me....

  • chase146 Aug 21, 2008

    Hey!! Timtooltime,
    IN REFERENCE TO YOUR COMMENT ABOUT TROOPERS AND MARINES. TROOPERS PUT THERE LIVES ON THE LINE EVERY DAY. MARINES FIGHT, FOR WHAT, A YEAR AT A TIME. THEN GO HOME AND JUST PLAY ARMY IN THE WOODS THE REST OF THEIR 4 YEAR CAREER. DONT GET ME WRONG, I AM THANKFUL FOR WHAT THEY DO. BUT THAT WAS A REALLY IGNORANT COMMENT. AND BY THE WAY, IF YOU DONT THINK TROOPERS ARE TOUGH, TRY PUTTING YOUR HANDS ON ONE THE NEXT TIME UR STOPPED.

  • eviltwinbob Aug 21, 2008

    Sassy Sailor Samuel, what planet do you live on? I have been in law enforcement for three years. I am working on my Associates in Criminal Justice and I graduated from my high school with no problems. I do have a type A personality, but I do not have a problem with life. I am actually well adjusted for all of the things that I have been through in my life. I am not a bully as some have suggested. I work with professional people that are going to classes and schools to become better police officers. Sounds like you just don't like cops, because clearly you dnot know your b%&t from second base when it comes to officers of the law. If three years in civilian law enforcement isn't enough for you, I have 18 1/2 years as a military police officer. I have been places where you will never go. I have done things that you will never be allowed to do. Luckily for me, my experiences have allowed me to take pity on the narrow minded, no go, never volunteer, loser of a life that you are endouring.

  • TheDecider Aug 21, 2008

    Seems that good judgement is a big part of being a cop. This fellow won't even stand up and take responsibility for his actions.

    I think he'll work the system until he can walk away with a big settlement. Then diversify: maybe a book deal or TV show to compete with Caesar. Would anyone stay up to watch bratty dogs being tuned up by The Dog Kickerer?

More...