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Records: Ex-Durham officer was impaired night he allegedly assaulted woman

Posted July 26, 2021 11:15 a.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2021 6:22 p.m. EDT

— A former Durham police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman last month was "so impaired" at the time that he couldn't remember later what happened, according to Durham Police Department records.

A 27-year-old woman told police that Joseph Allen Daniels assaulted her on June 4 at his Apex home. Daniel Meier, Daniels' attorney, said the woman was at a party at Daniels' home and spent the night.

"While the criminal case has not been adjudicated, the fact that you would become so impaired, even while off duty at your residence, that you are unable to recall the events of the previous night raises serious questions regarding your conduct and judgment," department officials wrote in Daniels' termination notice, which WRAL News obtained through a public records request.

Daniels, 35, was charged July 8 with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree forcible sexual offense and sexual battery in connection with the incident.

The Durham Police Department initially placed him on desk duty following his arrest, but officials changed his status a day later to unpaid leave until the charges were resolved.

He was fired on July 19 after a decade with the department.

"It’s pretty well known there was a party and there was a lot of drinking involved," Meier said Monday, adding that the alleged assault wasn't reported to Apex police until two weeks later.

"I understand they’re trying to cover themselves and protect themselves, but it still causes a problem," he said. "[Daniels] was at home drinking – they’re allowed to do that. I could understand if he was out at a bar [and then] driving home doing things. But he’s being punished for what he did at home with the impairment."

The termination letter also notes the widespread publicity over Daniels' arrest, which identified him as a Durham police officer.

"Individually and in combination, these facts are sufficient to support a sustained violation of [the] Durham Police Department rule ... [on] conduct unbecoming," the letter states.

"What that is saying is, we don’t care about the presumption of innocence, [and] we don’t care about the process. We’re going to just make an example of you and jump on it based on the nature of the charges," Meier said.

Daniels is depressed and feels he's been unfairly charged, his attorney said.

"His entire career has been basically upended," he said. "Even if we ultimately prevail on the charges, given that they’ve terminated him instead of suspending him ... like they said, his name and picture are everywhere, [so] he’s going to have a Google problem no matter what happens going forward."

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