Local News

Court orders trial for whistleblower trooper

Posted September 16, 2008 3:35 p.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2008 4:15 p.m. EDT

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a former state Highway Patrol trooper's lawsuit over his firing should be heard by a jury.

Reginald Newberne said he was fired five years ago after he blew the whistle on a fellow trooper he thought used excessive force in an arrest.

Newberne, who had served more than a decade as a trooper, said he didn't want to get involved in the incident, so he submitted a brief report with little detail. After a few days, he had a change of heart and filed an amended report with details he said substantiated his claim of excessive force.

After an internal Highway Patrol investigation, the arresting troopers were cleared of using excessive force, and Newberne was fired for being untruthful.

Newberne challenged the decision in court. After several setbacks, the State Supreme Court ruled in August 2005 that he could fight the firing under the Whistleblower Act, which protects employees who report perceived wrongdoing.