WRAL Investigates

Fired Cherry Hospital worker will not get job back

Posted December 8, 2010 4:29 p.m. EST

— A former Cherry Hospital employee who was fired for abusing a patient will not be getting his job back. The State Personnel Commission ruled Wednesday that it has no legal authority to re-instate O'Tonious Raynor.

The commission determined there was just cause to fire Raynor. A previous judge agreed that he used excessive force, but felt he should've been disciplined instead.

Raynor said he was protecting himself from a schizophrenia patient with an aggressive past, but the hospital said he deserved to be fired for acting irresponsibly.

According to the written record, the altercation began in the overnight hours of March 10 into March 11 when patient Bernard Freeman wasn’t allowed to smoke and punched Raynor several times, injuring his eye.

Raynor then pushed the 55-year-old patient down and pinned him against the furniture while standing on his hand, which was in a cast.

The scuffle happened in a common area, and then Raynor dragged Freeman down the hall to the bedrooms – out of view of the surveillance cameras, according to the written account and the tape.

"I didn't intend to hurt the patient. I felt like I was in danger, and I did the best I could under the circumstances," Raynor said. "He told me, 'When I get up, I'm going to kill you.'"

The Department of Justice looked at the case and never pursued any criminal charges. Raynor remains on worker's compensation for his eye injury.