WRAL Investigates

Head of Raleigh police interest group on administrative duty

Posted August 10, 2011
Updated August 11, 2011

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— A Raleigh police officer who is also the president of local police interest group has been placed on administrative duty stemming from an internal police department probe of an officer who was fired in June.

Another police officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Chip Roth, a spokesman for Teamsters Local 39, which runs the Raleigh Police Protective Association, said Wednesday that the status changes of Sgt. Eric DeSimone and Senior Officer Matt Cooper revolve around “policy violations” related to the investigation of Rick Armstrong. Armstrong, the RPPA's former president, was fired in June after accusations involving police officers having sex with a prostitute.

DeSimone, RPPA's current president, is on administrative duty, and Cooper, a member of the association, is on administrative leave, Roth said.

Neither officer could be reached Wednesday, but Roth said they do not have anything to say. He also said that they do not have anything to do with the investigation involving Armstrong and that the violations alleged against them have nothing to do with prostitutes.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said in a statement that state law prohibits him from discussing personnel matters, but he did respond to questions about the police department's relationship with the RPPA.

"The Raleigh Police Department respects and supports the rights of its employees to affiliate with the RPPA and/or other organizations and to lawfully participate as they desire," Dolan said. "No employee has been or will be singled out due to his or her participation with such organizations."

DeSimone, with the Raleigh police's field operations division, has been with the department since March 1997. Cooper, who is assigned to the special operations division, was hired in June 2000.

Sgt. Eric DeSimone Head of Raleigh police interest group on administrative duty

The investigation involving Armstrong and several other officers from Raleigh's Southeast District Substation was the result of a police officer's complaint in 2009.

Dolan has not addressed the specific allegations but has said the department's internal affairs unit was conducting a comprehensive investigation involving improper conduct and that "administrative violations may have occurred and that they stemmed from voluntary interactions between a small number of officers and non-departmental individuals."

Armstrong and another officer were subsequently fired, and a third officer resigned. Armstrong has adamantly denied the allegations and is fighting to get back his job.

"The charges against me, I'm innocent of," Armstrong said in an interview last month. "The allegations of prostitutes and sex have nothing to do with the charges that are against me."

Approximately 550 Raleigh police officers, or more than two-thirds of the Raleigh Police Department, are members of the RPPA.

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  • jollyrogered Aug 11, 2011

    "Armstrong, the RPPA's former president, was fired in June after accusations involving police officers having sex with a prostitute."

    WRAL, once again reporting incorrectly, the allegations of sex with prostitutes was not connected with why Armstrong was fired. His case was entirely different, it just happened at the same time.

  • timbo10.0 Aug 11, 2011

    Those who can, do. Those who can't, join a union.

  • working for deadbeats Aug 11, 2011

    Are we ever going to hear any substance to this story? This all started shortly after new years and we still have not gotten any real details on what anybody did. No information after this much time points to what other posters have said...a witch hunt against the Teamsters.

    "When are people finally going to step up and tell these people they are not above the law and it's time for a change?" journey

    How do you know it was a law they broke that they thought they were above? Ya...you don't. None of us do since we (the public) are not being given any real info, but hey run the story anyway.

  • pooodaddy Aug 11, 2011

    Armstrong had nothing to do with the prosituition case. If I were him, I'd sue the ever loving mess out of WRAL for continuing to link the two and running my name through the mud. Armstrong is a great guy and a good cop, so are these boys. The next RPD officer who takes the lead as the RPPA rep needs to make sure their i's are dotted and their t's crossed because Dolan is turning this into a witch hunt.

    Completely agree! Good Cop getting the shaft. Internal affairs need to check higher up the food chain.

  • Journey985 Aug 11, 2011

    Another fine example of good, oustanding LEO's serving our public...NOT!! In the meantime these officers are sitting back, getting PAID while the investigation continues. When are people finally going to step up and tell these people they are not above the law and it's time for a change?

  • Duke _Nukem Aug 11, 2011

    "The Raleigh Police Department respects and supports the rights of its employees to affiliate with the RPPA and/or other organizations and to lawfully participate as they desire," Dolan said. "No employee has been or will be singled out due to his or her participation with such organizations."

    Yeah right. The fact that he included that speaks volumes. Has anyone thought that maybe these police officers are being targeted by their administration for rocking the boat? Maybe it's the Chief that needs to be investigated?????

  • rosienc Aug 11, 2011

    Some of the police officers are just as guily as the rest.

  • SouthernLady05 Aug 11, 2011

    ""Armstrong, the RPPA's former president, was fired in June after accusations involving police officers having sex with a prostitute."I don't remember the case but am I to assume that this occurred while the officer was on duty?"

    Armstrong had nothing to do with the prosituition case. If I were him, I'd sue the ever loving mess out of WRAL for continuing to link the two and running my name through the mud. Armstrong is a great guy and a good cop, so are these boys. The next RPD officer who takes the lead as the RPPA rep needs to make sure their i's are dotted and their t's crossed because Dolan is turning this into a witch hunt.

  • fayncmike Aug 11, 2011

    "Didn't the Teamsters kill Jimmy Hoffa?"

    Stop watching bad movies:) While the facts are a bit murky it's mist likely that Jimmy was murdered by some gray branch of our beloved government. Does the name "Bobby Kennedy" ring a bell? Kennedy hatted Jimmie's guts because he made him look like the fool he was, over and over and God knows the Kennedy's would never stop at anything to get what they wanted.

  • fayncmike Aug 11, 2011

    "Armstrong, the RPPA's former president, was fired in June after accusations involving police officers having sex with a prostitute."

    I don't remember the case but am I to assume that this occurred while the officer was on duty?

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