Three Winston-Salem police officers leave force; one fired

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Rudolfo Zermeno (The Winston-Salem PD)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Winston-Salem Journal) — A Winston-Salem police officer facing charges that he assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to kill her has resigned, city officials said Monday.

Two other police officers have recently left the force. One was fired, and another resigned in lieu of termination.

Officer Rodolfo Zermeno, who joined the force in 2009, resigned Sunday, about two weeks after he was arrested on charges of misdemeanor assault on a female and communicating threats. Authorities said he had pushed his girlfriend, Maria Fidelina Aguilar, and threatened to kill her. Aguilar has a restraining order against Zermeno, with whom she has three children.

In May, Zermeno was charged with assault on a female. He was accused of slapping Aguilar, pushing her into a wall and hitting her with a remote control. That charge was voluntarily dismissed.

He had been placed on administrative leave, and his annual salary at the time of his resignation was $33,813, according to information provided by Assistant City Attorney Alan Andrews.

Zermeno’s case is still pending in Forsyth District Court.

Officer Robert Lee Baker, who had been with the force since 2006, was terminated for conduct unbecoming and unsatisfactory performance, Andrews said. Baker was suspended in August pending termination after he was charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

Winston-Salem police said Baker, who was working off-duty as a security officer for the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, was taking payment from the Housing Authority for hours he had not worked. He was suspended Aug. 13 and was terminated five days later, Andrews said.

He had an annual salary of $37,883. He is scheduled to appear Friday in Forsyth District Court on the charges.

Officer James Davis Grigsby, who had been with the force since 1998, resigned Dec. 12. He had been suspended pending termination on Nov. 27. Andrews did not say why Grigsby had been suspended. Grigsby’s annual salary was $43,312.

Grigsby had previously been charged with driving while impaired after an incident on March 24, 2010. At 4:56 a.m. that day, a Winston-Salem police officer stopped his pickup in the 3000 block of Healy Drive. But the charge was dismissed after Judge William C. Lawton of Forsyth District Court determined that the officer never saw Grigsby driving the pickup and could not recall if the engine was running.

Zermeno did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Baker and Grigsby could not be reached for comment.

Winston-Salem Police Chief Scott Cunningham did not return a message seeking comment.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal