BOLIVIA, NC (WWAY) - District Attorney Jon David responded via a news release today (posted below) regarding our exclusive reports on the ongoing issues within the Leland Police Department.
After confirming with multiple sources that Chief Tim Jayne took his station vehicle to Myrtle Beach last year for a bachelor party, struck an officer in the gut while at the party, has ordered officers to work on his home and on neighbors' homes, along with reporting about a Leland cop shooting fellow officer Sherry Lewis between the legs at least 12 times with simulation ammunition during a training exercise, we reached out to David to see how his office was handling the allegations.
We also told him about a story dealing with a criminal situation within the Leland Police Department we've chosen not to report at this time because we feel that if we did, it could put some people's safety in jeopardy. He said he hadn't heard anything from anyone.
David has also continuously discredited our sources saying they are just disgruntled employees with an axe to grind. We have continuously reminded him that we have confirmed everything we've reported with at least one more source, if not more, and that we stand by all of our stories regarding the Town of Leland and the Leland Police Department as true and factual.
David again told us that he had not received any calls regarding the allegations. When we reminded him that one of our sources had indeed called him, he did admit he remembered taking that call. That source tells us that David took the call but ended up laughing and hanging up on them. David says he doesn't recall doing that. But in the news release, he says again that he hasn't received any calls.
We also informed him that many of the people talking with us are close to the situation within the Leland Police Department and don't trust him because he's friends and neighbors with Chief Jayne. He said he was disappointed to hear that.
In his news release, David says the purpose is to, "clarify the responsibility of the District Attorney and to discuss what steps I have taken to ensure the integrity of the investigative process for any criminal case, should the need arise."
David mentions a "conflict of interest" in the release and has told us by phone that it does involve his relationship with Chief Jayne.
He also writes, "When personnel problems are alleged, the matter can be investigated by Criminal Justice Training and Standards, which is a division under the Department of Justice. In this case, I have been informed by the Attorney General’s Office that an internal audit has already occurred."
That audit did happen early last week. However, Attorney General Spokeswoman Noelle Talley told us by phone that she has talked with Training and Standards Director Wayne Woodard who told her his department does not investigate "personnel matters," instead focusing on training and certification. She did say Woodard would be interested in hearing about concerns within the department.
David told us Tuesday that John Aldridge, who's with the AG's office, could take complaint calls from people concerned about the situation within LDP. However, as of Tuesday, Talley said that wasn't the AG's policy and Aldridge didn't have approval to take phone calls from the public.
Now, in today's news release, he says people concerned about personnel issued within LPD should write, not call, Training and Standards, which we're told doesn't handle personnel issues.
Once David told us no one has called him with complaints, we approached him saying people who were talking with us were ready to file formal complaints. He said he wasn't comfortable hearing those complaints because of his friendship with Chief Jayne, so we asked who we could send those people to. On Tuesday it was a representative from the AG's office. Today it's Training and Standards, which doesn't deal with these issues. So we are still unclear who's responsible for at least sitting down and listening to what these people have to say.
THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM DISTRICT ATTORNEY JON DAVID'S OFFICE AS WELL AS AN EMAIL DAVID SAYS HE SENT TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE:
Press Release Regarding Leland Police Department
This press release concerns media reports of internal problems at the Leland Police Department. Recently, a local television station has been running a series of news stories about personnel issues within the Leland Police Department. The purpose of this press release is to clarify the responsibility of the District Attorney and to discuss what steps I have taken to ensure the integrity of the investigative process for any criminal case, should the need arise.
The Constitutional duty of the District Attorney is two fold: (1) to prosecute crime and (2) to advise local law enforcement.
The District Attorney does not have any supervisory authority over the internal functioning of a police department. When personnel problems are alleged, the matter can be investigated by Criminal Justice Training and Standards, which is a division under the Department of Justice. In this case, I have been informed by the Attorney General’s Office that an internal audit has already occurred. A follow-up investigation can proceed if necessary. Investigators with Training and Standards routinely seek legal guidance from the Attorney General’s Office, not the local District Attorney. The reason that investigators get advice from the Attorney General is because personnel matters of law enforcement agencies are not the purview of the District Attorney.
When law enforcement officers break the criminal law it is my oath and obligation to prosecute them for their behavior.
When I receive these types of complaints my practice is to refer the investigation to a law enforcement agency, generally the State Bureau of Investigation.
At times, a District Attorney may have a conflict of interest in being able to personally handle a criminal matter involving a law enforcement officer. In this case, I contacted the Attorney General’s Office and requested their assistance on Friday, September 23, 2011. I had a detailed phone conversation with attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office, and memorialized that conversation in writing (see the attached email dated, Monday, September 26). The decision to involve the Attorney General’s Office at that juncture was preemptive in nature. To date, I have never received a criminal complaint from any victim or witness of a crime alleged to have been perpetrated by a Leland Police Officer.
The Attorney General’s Office will continue to work with the Investigators from Training and Standards and, should allegations of a criminal nature surface, they have agreed to refer the matter for a follow-up criminal investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agency. Moreover, the Attorney General’s Office would assume any future criminal prosecution.
Anyone who wishes to allege criminal behavior connected to this matter is asked by the Attorney General’s Office to put that request in writing and send to:
Attention: NC Criminal Justice Standards
P.O. Drawer 149
If a victim or witness is reluctant to detail these allegations in writing, then you are asked to merely supply your name and phone number to the above address and you will be contacted immediately.
From: David, Jonathan M.
Sent: Monday, September 26, 2011 4:52 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Leland Police Department
Jim, I hope this email finds you doing well. This message follows our telephone conversation of last Friday
regarding the Leland Police Department. As we discussed, there has been a substantial amount of coverage in
our local press regarding problems in the department. Apparently, the source of the news stories is the former
Assistant Town Manger, who was recently terminated. The Police Chief, Tim Jayne, has been instructed by
his Town Manger, Bill Farris, not to respond publically (sic) to the allegations. This strategy has lead many in our
community to rush to judgment and condemn Chief Jayne's behavior. Some members of our community are
strongly voicing the opinion that the Chief and/or department should be "investigated" by the District Attorney's Office.
I have not received any complaints regarding criminal behavior by the Leland Police Department or Chief Jayne.
Moreover, as you are aware, I do not have any supervisory authority over the Chief or his department. It appears that the current allegations, if true, raise troubling issues regarding personnel matters only. To this end, I have been made aware that Training and Standards is already conducting a review of the department. In the event that additional allegations surface of a criminal nature, I would have a conflict of interest in advising law enforcement, or in prosecuting Tim Jayne. The reason for this is that Tim Jayne and I are neighbors and friends.
Moreover, one of the news stories suggested that Chief Jayne was using his employees to perform work around
our neighborhood while on duty. To the extent that I could be viewed as benefiting from this "corruption" I feel it necessary to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
While I do not believe that I have an actual conflict of interest some may perceive the appearance of a conflict. In this regard, I consulted the criteria for acceptance of requests for assistance that the Attorney General’s Office has set forth in interpreting its responsibilities when a conflict request is made, pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 114-11.6.
The Criteria for acceptance states:
Although there is not always an actual conflict of interest in these cases, it is sometimes better from a
“public perception” standpoint to eliminate an appearance of conflict or some suggestion that the matter
will not be handled properly. Having a separate independent prosecutorial agency assume responsibility
for these types of cases is in the best interest of the proper administration of justice in assuring the public
that the case will be handled properly and in the public’s best interest.
The types of cases which readily fall into this category include the following: (d) When a local attorney, law enforcement officer, court official or other public official is investigated or charged and the District Attorney has a personal or professional relationship with that person such that his ability to be totally fair and impartial will be questioned; or when, in such instances, both the District Attorney and the Attorney General feel that public confidence in the proper administration of justice will be severely damaged without the presence of an independent prosecutorial agency’s participation in the case.
Given the circumstances, I ask that your department advise law enforcement and assume any future prosecution
of this matter should the need arise. I have already contacted members of both the SBI and the FBI and informed them of our telephone conversation wherein you agreed to let Assistant Attorney General John Adridge and his team provide assistance. Mr. Aldrige is already aware of some of the allegations because of this working relationship with the folks at Training and Standards. Again, I appreciate your help with this matter. Please contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns.
Sincerely, Jon David