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Police Shief Suspended

March 21, 2002

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Police Shief Suspended

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EC manager suspends police chief
Elizabeth City Police Chief Trevor Hampton was placed on administrative leave Monday and one of his lieutenants was named acting chief.

In a memo to the ECPD, City Manager Steven Harrell said Lt. James Adams would be in charge of the department “until further notice.”

Adams referred all questions to Harrell, who refused to say why Hampton was suspended.

But Harrell did say last week that Hampton broke city policy by holding a press conference on March 12 without notifying the city manager first.

The chief also may have broken state law at the press conference by handing out copies of a written reprimand he issued to Capt. Mervin Raby on Aug. 31, 2001.

On the copy of the reprimand Hampton released, the officer's name is blacked out and the words "police manager" written in. But that is not enough to allow release of the letter, said Noelle Taylor, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office.

State law restricts the public release of government employee reprimands, and a city official who improperly releases such documents can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable with a fine up to $500.

According to Taylor, a reprimand can be released if the employee has given his written permission or the city manager decides it's necessary to maintain confidence in the local government.

The reprimand Hampton released discusses discrepancies in the number of hours the police officer worked and accuses the officer of wasting time on duty.

Raby, a 31-year police veteran who retired as a captain on Nov. 1, confirmed Monday that the reprimand was his.

"The chief did not have my permission (to give out copies of the reprimand), he or anybody else," Raby said, adding that he's considering his legal options, both criminal and civil, in the matter.

Hampton did not return phone calls seeking comment for this story.

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