Matthews a close friend of former chief

Published 9:50 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

By Lynn Hall

Enterprise Record

Mocksville Police officer Daniel Matthews was one of the two assistant chiefs when Robert Cook decided to terminate three Mocksville police officers, including the other assistant chief.

Matthews, a 23-year veteran of the Mocksville Police Department, testified that when Ken Hunter was relieved of any supervisory duties in a restructuring of the police department in November of 2011, he became deputy chief.

He testified to a close relationship with then Police Chief Robert Cook, both professionally and personally, and informed the court that when Cook told him of the reorganization of the department Cook said it was because he could no longer “trust” Ken Hunter.

Matthews agreed that neither he nor Cook gave written evaluations or kept written records of disciplinary actions. Asked about that, Matthews admitted he had attended classes where the importance of documentation had been addressed, but when he shared that with the chief, Cook had not been interested.

“Did you verbally counsel?” defense attorney Patrick Flanagan asked.


The defense also pointed out that there is nothing statutorily that requires written documentation.

Flanagan asked Matthews if he ever received complaints about Chief Cook’s drinking, and the officer said he had not. He said it was only after the chief’s retirement that there was a mention of a drinking problem.

Matthews was taken through a review of complaints he and Cook had with the three terminated officers, including the “trust” issue.

“The chief and I didn’t recollect things the same as Hunter,” Matthews said in regard to a dispute over what had happened at an earlier departmental meeting. He was asked if he and Cook had taken notes, and he said they had not. He agreed Hunter had taken notes.

Matthews testified that officers had come to him with complaints about Hunter (who was their supervisor). One of those making allegations was Stuart Shore. He alleged that Hunter and Medlin were harassing him, telling him he needed to be loyal to Hunter or he might not get promotions or raises and that drugs could be planted on him.

Those allegations were denied by Hunter who was recalled to the stand following Shore’s testimony.

Matthews said other concerns related to the officers had to do with leaving town while on duty, not keeping Cook informed on investigations and Donathan’s being late to work. He said after the department reorganization and Hunter’s loss of supervisory duties, Medlin would no longer speak to him (Matthews).

Matthews was asked about his feud with Jeff Allen in regard to the hunter education program and Allen’s later banishment from the Davie County Law Enforcement Association firing range. He said he did have regrets over that incident.

As to claims that he had been accepting pay for teaching classes at Davidson Community College while he was on duty with the MPD, he said he was doing rifle training that required night and day testing and that he had to change some class times. He said by the time the contract had been signed with the college, and his hours were not changed in that document per the training changes.

Matthews testified he was told on Dec. 28 that the officers were being terminated. He said he did not know about the telephone call to the governor’s office or concerns about corruption.

Under cross examination, Matthews was asked about a reported visit with SBI Agent D.J. Smith in December of 2011. He said the visit was in regard to reserving the firing range for planned SBI training.

“I told him I’d already taken care of reserving the range,” the former deputy chief testified. He said Cook was not in the office at that time and that other than the firing range, he and Smith talked about hog hunting.

Matthews was asked if he knew why the officers were fired.

He said he did not.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Elliot asked Matthews about a memo he wrote outlining all of the performance issues he and Cook had with the three officers. He said it was prepared at Cook’s direction following the terminations.

“I used my notes to write the memo,” Matthews replied. He admitted those notes regarding issues of concern had never been placed in their personnel files.

He also acknowledged providing the cell phones of the three officers to someone at the Davie County Sheriff’s department so that information on the phones could be downloaded.

“Had that ever been done for anyone other than a criminal in the past?” Elliot asked.


Matthews could not remember asking for an investigation into a laptop, allegedly missing from Medlin’s office after termination. When asked to consult his deposition testimony, he stated he did remember, and reading from the notes, said, “because there was a missing laptop.”

He again stated he never had the phone number of the Tracfone.

“You have testified many times,” Elliot said, “that you don’t know why these officers were terminated. Were you ever curious?”


“And you can’t sit here today and say that Cook did or didn’t have the Tracfone number?” Elliot asked.

Matthews’ reply: “No.”