Former K-9 trooper files suit to get his job back
Posted September 28, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C. — After Trooper Charles Jones was caught on video kicking his K-9 partner and dismissed from the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the State Personnel Commission found his punishment too harsh.
The commission ruled in October 2008 that Jones should be reinstated. Almost two years later, Jones has filed suit over the delay in getting his job back.
Jones filed suit in Johnston County Superior Court on Monday against former Gov. Mike Easley, Everette Clendenin, the former spokesman for the Highway Patrol and others, according to John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association.
The PBA is supporting Jones in the suit.
The state agency fired Jones in September 2007 after another trooper turned over two 15-second video clips of Jones suspending his dog, Ricoh, a Belgian Mallinois, from a railing and kicking him repeatedly to force him to release a chew toy.
Jones maintained the treatment was a training technique, but patrol leaders said Jones, who coordinated training for the force's K-9 unit, crossed the line from training to abuse and acted in a way inconsistent with his own training.
In October 2008, the commission ordered the Highway Patrol to reinstate Jones, finding that it did not have "just cause to dismiss for unacceptable personal conduct.” It did find, however, "sufficient cause for discipline for unsatisfactory job performance.”
Patrol leaders said they initially planned to discipline Jones but decided to fire him when then-Gov. Easley's office intervened.
The state suspended the patrol's K-9 program after the video became public, and implemented a new program with new dogs and handlers in June 2009.