Local News

Personnel commission agrees with trooper's firing

Posted August 28, 2009

— The North Carolina Personnel Commission decided Aug. 20 to uphold a judge’s ruling on a state trooper fired for showing an obscene image to a bank teller.

Ronald Gene Ezzell Jr., a helicopter pilot who worked for the Highway Patrol for 19 years, was in a marked cruiser in the drive-through lane at a State Employees Credit Union branch in Kinston last October when he passed an image to a teller.

The doctored photo showed a boy with enlarged genitals.

After word of the incident reached Ezzell’s supervisors, they recommended that he be suspended and demoted.

Col. Walter Wilson, who recently retired as Highway Patrol commander, decided instead to fire Ezzell, saying he had reprimanded Ezzell earlier after the trooper made inappropriate comments to a teenage waitress when the two men were at lunch.

Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. said the state's decision to fire Ezzell "should be left undisturbed."

Reuben Young, secretary of the state Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, said he supported Wilson's decision to fire Ezzell.

Ezzell and his attorney, Woody Webb, maintained that suspension and demotion was the appropriate punishment in the case, which they said was simply a bad joke that went too far.

"Not every transgression should rise to the level of a dismissal," Webb said.

Ezzell has 30 days from the ruling to appeal the commission’s decision to the superior court either in Wake County or in Lenoir County where the incident happened.

The case is the latest in a series of trooper's appealing firings or demotions. Several troopers have been dismissed in the past couple of years amid allegations of profiling women for traffic stops, having sex on duty, drunken driving or animal abuse.


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  • Scare Crow Aug 28, 2009

    Time to *C L E A N H O U SE*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remove all the bad apples.....NOW!

  • Pharmboy Aug 28, 2009

    The shield should not be tarnished with this individual officer's actions. He has repeat offenses and not suited to be an officer due to his actions. I mean, come on, showing images of a kid with enhanced body parts to a woman? He has issues.

  • Armando de Cabana Boy Aug 28, 2009

    pbjbeach: Please spare us your contempt of the State's disciplinary process. Your spelling is embarrassing to other state employees. As far as grievance hearings being kangaroo courts, most times, it is usually the grievant that is the kangaroo!

    Milkman: VERY good point!

  • Mom2two Aug 28, 2009

    I wonder how many other times he has done something similar and it not been reported? Making inappropriate remarks to a teenage waitress, to me, is worse than the picture. But given that he was warned the second time and still did this sort of thing, I agree that he doesn't need to be a trooper, since he is apparently a VERY slow learner. I couldn't be any more pro-police than I already am, but don't ask me to defend something that is indefensible.

  • superman Aug 28, 2009

    It rose to the point of dismisall to me. And the guy that was having sex during duty on the hood of his patrol car should have been fired. The SHP does not need this type of person or the image he portrays by doing this time of thing. Showing it to a complete stranger is NOT a joke. Showing it to a friend or a relative might be a joke-- but never a complete stranger.

  • HadEnough Aug 28, 2009

    As pbjbeach stated the grievance process for state employees is a joke. The other joke is the fact that the state personnel commission has the ability to overrule a judge. What The Heck!
    Once they overrule a judge then the defendant can take his case to superior court and possibly get more money in the form of punitive damages. If the ALJ found for the defendant then certainly the superior court will as well.

  • pbjbeach Aug 28, 2009

    In my personal opinion the state of north carolina an their grivenance proceedings are a total joke in an of themselves an they are nothing short of a kangroo court proceedings an the same as it pertains to the state personnel commissions decesion making ability's just another kangroo court with their decesions that are totaly influenced by the politicans all across this state an i am of the same opinion of the state court system within north carolina in my personal opinion they to are totaly influneced by politicans an lawyers as to the verdicts that are arrived at at in both criminal an civil proceedings . their is no such thing as real an impartial an fair trail or hearing no where in this state thank you

  • mrduright Aug 28, 2009

    nana na na hay hay good by.. Now on the Randoph County for another trigger happy clown!

  • Buddy1 Aug 28, 2009

    pbjbeach - Maybe you were terminated for not making any sense and typing in all caps. Have you considered that?

  • itsmyownopinion Aug 28, 2009

    Justice served.