Local News

Judge upholds decision to fire trooper

Posted July 1, 2010 2:40 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge has become the latest arbiter to uphold the firing of a state trooper for showing an obscene image to a bank teller.

Judge Carl Fox on June 17 upheld the decision reached last summer by the state Personnel Commission to uphold an administrative law judge’s ruling on Ronald Gene Ezzell Jr.'s firing by the state Highway Patrol.

Ezzell, a helicopter pilot who worked for the Highway Patrol for 19 years, was in a marked cruiser in the drive-through lane at a State Employees Credit Union branch in Kinston in October 2008 when he passed an image to a teller.

The doctored photo showed a boy with enlarged genitals.

After word of the incident reached Ezzell’s supervisors, they recommended that he be suspended and demoted.

Former patrol commander Col. Walter Wilson decided instead to fire Ezzell, saying he had reprimanded Ezzell earlier after the trooper made inappropriate comments to a teenage waitress when the two men were at lunch.