Candor Hires Police Chief, Man Questions Fired Officers’ Reputation
Candor has a new police chief six weeks after firing Chief Randy White and three other officers, and for the first time someone has come forward questioning the reputation of the fired officers.
Commissioners hired Johnny Fulp at a specially called meeting Monday night. Fulp was a candidate to become a Montgomery County deputy in 2010.
“I would work with the community and the town board to unite or pull everybody together and to start working for a common cause,” Fulp said.
The town had been taking applications for chief for a month but received only three applications. Commissioner Phillip Hearne, who would like to see White return, said his hands are tied.
“Candor has to have a police chief. The town has to be covered,” Hearne said.
Also at Monday's meeting, a man who was stopped by some of the fired officers days before the vote questioned their reputation.
Ramon Morales explained a traffic stop in December involving two of the town's now former officers. FOX8 obtained video of the stop.
The officers cited Morales for having a burnt-out taillight. In the video, Morales told the officers he wasn't going to give the officers his license after being asked. The officers then told Morales to stop resisting.
“What do you want me to do? I'm not resisting. And on top of that they Tasered me,” Morales said Monday.
Morales said he did nothing wrong. Jeremy Blake, one of the arresting officers, disagreed.
“He told us if we knew what was good for us, we'd leave him alone and let him go. I advised him it was too late for that,” Blake said.
Once in the patrol car, Morales mentioned a familiar name on the video.
“Do you know Mr. Wayne? I'm going to tell Mr. Wayne, and you guys are going to be in trouble,” Morales said
Morales later clarified that “Mr. Wayne” is Wayne Holyfield, the commissioner who made the motion Dec. 12 to fire almost all of the police force.
Holyfield was the only commissioner not at Monday's meeting, and commissioners in attendance did not know why.
Regradless, Morales said he was happy about Holyfield firing the officers.
“They're going to twist every thing around because they want to get rehired,” Morales said.
“Yeah, I'll take my job back,” Blake said.
The officers' lawyer said he is still considering a lawsuit to try to get the officers their jobs back. The suit should be ready in a couple of months.
The officers maintain they did nothing wrong. Records from Candor Police indicate the four fired men had good service. That means years of service without any disciplinary incidents and with promotions.
The fired officers said they were concerned about records from two of their replacement officers.
Erik Jackson was a former state trooper who was fired over the summer. He was suspended three times during his trooper tenure–once for taking his patrol car to Charlotte while off-duty, once for not responding to calls in a timely manner and once for a road rage incident in which another driver said Jackson was driving carelessly and recklessly.
Joseph Majors, who came to Candor from Mount Gilead, was dismissed because of a problem with his time sheet, according to Mount Gilead's police chief. The town manager requested the chief to fire Majors, according to the chief.
The SBI is also investigating reports of voter fraud in the town's November election.