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Judge: Trooper demoted for racial slur should get job back

The Highway Patrol took action in 2006 after they said 1st Sgt. Mitch Foard used the slur in a voice mail message.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A state trooper who was demoted in 2006 for using a racial slur should get his job back, an administrative judge ruled Friday.

The Highway Patrol took action after they said 1st Sgt. Mitch Foard used the slur in a voicemail message.

Former Highway Patrol Lt. Virgil Lessane received the voicemail, an inadvertent recording of a conversation between Foard and Capt. Phillip Jones. Following the original investigation, Jones retired.

A tape recording of the voice mail was used in that investigation.

Administrative Law Judge Joe Webster ruled the tape recording of the voicemail, which was used in the original investigation, could not be verified and without the original recording it was not sufficient to cost Foard his job.

Foard should be reinstated with full pay and benefits retroactive to 2006, Webster ruled.

This is the second case in recent weeks where it the Highway Patrol was ordered to reinstate a trooper.

The State Personnel Commission ruled in mid-October that Charles Jones should be reinstated. Jones was fired more than a year ago for roughly treating his K-9 partner.

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