Winston-Salem police officer fired following assault charges

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.— A Winston-Salem police officer who was arrested after being accused of assaulting a woman who he lives with has been fired, police Chief Scott Cunningham said Wednesday.

John Patterson Berry, 23, was arrested by Winston-Salem police at his home on Oakhurst Park Lane in Kernersville around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He was charged with assault on a female and false imprisonment.

Following the charges, an internal investigation revealed that Berry did not “conform to department rules and policies, failed to abide by the departmental direction and exhibited unprofessional behavior,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said city policy allows an officer to be dismissed before criminal charges are processed if the suspect breaks departmental and city procedures. Berry’s criminal proceedings will still move forward.

The victim was Tiffany Amber Paine, 22, of the same address, and the alleged offense happened at their home.

“I will say that WSPD officers responded to the scene based on a request for police, that WSPD officers handled the investigation, and it was the determination by WSPD personnel that an arrest should be made,” Cunningham said Monday. “Responding WSPD officers performed their tasks as professionally expected and did not provide any special treatment to Mr. Berry.”

Berry was jailed in Forsyth County under a $1,000 secured bond after the incident. He has a court date set for Jan. 13.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Berry placed WSPD personnel in this position, but the fact that WSPD personnel investigated the case and made the arrest speaks to the professionalism of the agency and its personnel,” Cunningham said.

The investigation was handled internally. Berry, who was hired on Nov. 8 in 2010, had been temporarily placed on administrative duties until he was terminated Wednesday.

“The WSPD does not in any way condone domestic violence and we view these charges as severe and significant. If our internal investigation sustains rule violations, Mr. Berry will be disciplined appropriately.”