Officers ask for jobs back

Published 11:14 am Thursday, July 7, 2016

Three Mocksville police officers who were awarded $4.1 million in a lawsuit against the town and former police chief Robert Cook want their jobs back.

Through their attorney, Robert Elliot, they petitioned the judge who presided over the jury trial, Thomas D. Schroeder, to get their jobs back.

Ken Hunter, Jerry Medlin and Rick Donathan claimed their rights to free speech were violated because they were fired after calling the governor’s office to report perceived corruption in the department. A jury hearing the case in U.S. District Court sided with the officers after a short deliberation and after a trial that lasted more than a week.

According to Elliot, the officers deserve to be reinstated to their old jobs – the career they had chosen – at the same pay.

“We wanted to send a message as far as it could reach with as much emphasis as it could have to try and make people realize that the government is for the people, the police department is for the people and not just a few leaders or managers who use it for their own benefit,” Elliot said.

Mocksville officials filed documents with the judge saying that giving the officers their jobs back would cause severe problems in the department, possibly endangering residents because of the turmoil. The town also claims there are no job vacancies in the police department and others would have to be fired, and that Medlin and Hunter no longer have their certification to be officers.

There is no timetable for the judge to make a decision.