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FIRST ON 3: Former Leland officer talks about shooting, harassment within department

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Former Leland officer talks about shooting, harassment within department
SHERRYLEWIS300.jpg

LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Former Leland Police officer Sherry Lewis says she has been to hell and back in the last couple of years. For the first time since settling her harassment claim with the town of Leland, Lewis is talking about her experience in the Leland Police Department.

She says things were so bad that she no longer feared what she would come across on the street, but what she had to face inside the station.

March 10 was no different.

Officers were scheduled to participate in a new training simulation exercise. Lewis and other officers agreed that this was going to be another situation where she was targeted.

"I knew how things were and how I was generally targeted and how they felt about me and that they would probably target me to drive me away and humiliate me," Lewis said. "I knew it was coming. This was typical. This was not new to me."

Lewis says during the exercises, she was shot about eight times between her legs before the group broke for lunch. She says she asked the sergeant who was shooting her repeatedly, who we've learned was Mike Landen, to stop shooting her in the crotch because she did not know how much more she could take.

"At this point it was so painful. That's when I had asked them to please stop it, but, of course, they laughed and giggled and just added to my embarrassment," Lewis said.

Lewis says she did not stop participating and tried to ignore the pain. When she was shot in the crotch about four more times, she said she finally broke.

"It hurt pretty bad," she said. "If I describe what I said or did at that moment, I basically clenched my fists and my teeth, swore under my breath, as the two lieutenants were on either side of me yelling and just demeaning me and humiliating me as the other officers watched."

Lewis says after that, her supervisors told her to leave immediately. Because she had ridden with other officers, she was left without a ride home and was made to walk, which only made her injuries worse.

"My pants were sticking to the little cuts, and every time I'd move my legs it'd pull out of the cuts and make it bleed more. It hurt horribly. The only way I could walk was with my feet apart and I had to walk quite a distance," Lewis said.

After calling her son to pick her up in Kure Beach, Lewis says she called Leland Mayor Pro Tem Brenda Bozeman.

"I poured my heart out," Lewis said. "I told her everything that had happened. Everything that had been happening. I told her I had to resign. I could not face them again. Could I please please turn my badge, my gun, everything from the department into her? That I could never walk into the department again. I couldn't look these men in the eye again."

Lewis says Bozeman told her she needed to make some calls and would get back to her. She never did.

Lewis got a call from Police Chief Tim Jayne an hour later. She says he told her he met with Bozeman and Leland Town Manager Bill Farris to discuss what happened.

Other than giving her statement to the then assistant town manager, Lewis says she never heard from anyone of authority in Leland again. Lewis says that's when she got her attorney involved. She says she wanted the people responsible for the issues in the police department held accountable.

"This was not about money," Lewis said. "Not once during the whole process did I tell my attorney, 'I want X amount of dollars. I want money, money, money.' This was never about the money. This was about righting a wrong, keeping my reputation in tact so that I could continue to do the job I was sworn to do at another department, and also to make sure that the officers that remained there didn't have to keep going through what they're going through."

Lewis says she knows the abuse at the training session was no accident. She says to her knowledge Landen was never disciplined for his involvement.

"I have several witnesses that are sworn officers that heard the planning and actually heard after the fact when I was made to leave the facility that they had done it and it was funny to them," Lewis said. "This was not a training accident. This was an intentional act against me."

Lewis says she was going to try to wait out the bad apples, but she could not stand the situation any longer. She now hopes that by sharing her story, other officers will come forward so that the truth will come out and Leland will have a reliable department again. For now though, she says some cops are not living up to the standards they swore to uphold.

"We, as police officers, are held to a higher standard than your average citizens," Lewis said. "We are the sheep dogs. When the sheep dog becomes the wolf, who do you turn to?"

We've tried to talk with town leaders in Leland, including Jayne, Farris and Bozeman, about what happened to Lewis. They have all refused to discuss the situation citing personnel confidentiality.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Leland PD

Maybe the DA should take a note of what happened in the 12th District, Cumberland County, with the Spring Lake PD.

The DA's Office would not allow them to file felony charges, only the Sheriff's Dept could. It took Spring Lake PD a while to get their act together, but they did.

So Mister DA, maybe it is time for you to learn a history lesson, and do what it right for all the people in Brunswick County.

SLPD

Didn't the Sheriff's Dept take over for a while? Restructure, evaluate, etc?

Bully LPD Officers: Keep removing all doubt with your replies

I don't believe everything I read, but some of these folks are really proving other people's points by opening their mouths. Mark Twain once said, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." I have NO doubt now that the allegations Holman made about the harrassment he endured is true. I have read comments, some signed and some unsigned, from LPD officers AND families that implied that male commenters were sexually interested in their husbands. One said that her husband was both "straight and taken," while someone else claimed that Kblue, who is believed to be male, must have a real "hard on" for the chief and lieutenants.

After reading the Star-News article where Lewis talks about being made fun of for her "appearance" by other officers, I also see now why the name calling and insults are being thrown around. These officers have been bullies, and it is only in secrecy that their victims can throw it back at them. It looks like their wives like to take part too. Victims, don't stoop to their levels, even though I understand you enjoying seeing the mighty fall. Come forward with all the information you have about criminal and inappropriate conduct if you haven't already. You don't have to be afraid any more. We SEE what has been going on.

Chuckles the Clown

copied from Southern Born,

Is it possible could it be,
that the legend has written
what the clowns can't see.

The legend he listens for many lies.
while the three stooges disapear befor thier eyes.

He wishes for justice,
some could expect.
Anger and fear he can detect.

Farris he agrees these are the ones
and the legend he picks each one as thier done.

Right knows no wrong when the rules they scribe.
The legend he knows they cannot hide.

so before his time comes at the hands of three.
he retreats with his king,so to be free

behind he leaves, a army of good.
while the three cover themselves,
with a dark and dirty hood

The legend is proud he did a good job
while the three did what you read on this here blog.

The Legend Lives.

is he referring to Stricklands, Jayne, and Farris

The Leland police dept is a

The Leland police dept is a disgrace to all of law enforcement. I have been harassed countless times and think the area would be better off without a dept at all. Replace the force. Lol if you could call it that. My .02

Just

Just give me a chance to explain, please? Not all Officers are like that. I assure you their are some OUTSTANDING Officers on the Leland Police Department. With such poor leadership it's hard to see this. After the new change in leadership you will see a brand new Police Department. Say's who? Say's Kblue!

Why?

Why does Tim Jayne still have a job?

Why does Michael Landen still have a job?

Why does the two Lieutenants still have a job?

Why does Bill Farris still have a job?

Why does John Blasingame still have a job?

Town of Leland you are a joke, from top to bottom.

When you knowingly allow people to commit crimes and violated policies and procedures, you too, are guilty.

All of you are a disgrace to government. You need to go!!!

Answer

The answer to all of your questions is that the investigation currently being conducted has not been completed. Are these folks supposed to be fired based on rumor, allegation and accusations? Would anyone want their job status determined by rumor rather than fact?

This isn't to say that the investigation won't find wrong-doing. It's entirely possible and, if so, I hope that those found guilty will be dealt with properly.

Sad Song

Guys and Gals,

Let's quit singing the same tune. Yes, the officers in Leland "fine department" put their lives on the line every day. Some even served their country. THAT WAS THEIR CHOICE. This country has no draft and doesn't require citizens to serve in the police so these officers choose to serve. Much like you and I choose to do our jobs.

That is the only defense I can see on here is people saying these officers put their lives on the line every day. With the exception of the robbery last Friday, Leland doesn't have a lot of situations where an officers life is on the line. Look at their daily police blotter and you will see these officers putting their "lives on the line" to investigate thefts of stop signs, lots of shoplifting at Walmart, and sometimes a larceny of a dog. I certainly appreciate the risk the officers take in investigating these matters.

As for their military service, the officers should be thanking us. If you combined the officers in the Leland Police Department SAT scores, I still doubt you would get a high enough score to ever attend a college. Hence, the Military was the only viable option for these guys and obviously it paid off because they would able to land an awesome job with the Leland Police Department!

I sleep at night knowing Smith, Blassinggame and all the other Ex Military Guys in Leland are "on the case."

as a prior employee of the

as a prior employee of the town i can only say this to all of you. there is no one here making alligations of you doing any wrong doing anything illegal or otherwise detrimental to you, your family, and the job that you have. yes you sleep safe at night because of people like the patrol officers of leland who are in your neighborhood at night trying to catch the guy breaking into your unlocked car because you were so smart you didnt remember to secure your crap! as far as being educated i know a few of the officers there have a degree or are working towards a degree in something all while being paid crap and what education do you have? these guys risk there lives everyday simply putting on a uniform makes you a target. are there bad people in leland? YES! do they need to go to jail? YES! do the officers write tickets YES you jokers cant drive! if you think you could do so much better than these officers... i invite you to shut your mouth grab a BLET t shirt go to school. and when you get done you do the job. be the bully see the bad guy with a gun 3 foot from you then come on here and tell the truth YOU need cops in leland period. does Jayne need to go yes! Futch YES! Lieutenats YES! anything involving Officer Lewis you should be Fired yes. but the guys you see working 6-6 they arent there for the money theyre there for YOU! remember that.as far as the veterans let me ask you something you didnt serve????WHY are u AMERICAN? so you dont know why these men and women CHOOSE to serve there country and the little old town of Leland its a duty an honor. the Military is Never just an obvious alternative respect your veterans theyre the reason you are able to sit here and talk crap. do a ride along then come back and write what you witness be safe lil buddy. its a very thin blue line

That's assuming they even

That's assuming they even were in highschool long enough to take the SAT. Giving them too much credit! A GED is good 'nuf for the LPD. Computers and phones have spellcheck, guys. You're blowing your cover with all the incoherent posts!

You have no clue

I know one that graduated from college with a Business Degree AND graduated BLET with flying colors!

LEAND PD

ok so called leland boy why dont you put your big boy pants on and go serve your country then come back with your opinion! actually there are several men and women in the service with college yet they choose to serve this country... for you to make comments about people that have fought for our "country" as if its no big deal just tells me that your a piece of work... for our military to be the best in the world i would agree with you that they cant be very smart lol.. sounds like your the smart one "leland boy"... I sleep well at night knowing these guys that you named are on the case as well because they are two of the best that the leland pd has... if at the end someone is found guilty of a crime then judge them but until then they are innocent until proven guilty... i also say read all the statements and see how there has been several conflicting storys between WWAY,STAR NEWS ETC...

Unfortunately this is not a

Unfortunately this is not a court of law, which is also why no one has a right to confront an accuser just yet. In a forum like this, it's a court of public opinion. If most of the things being said are from your peers or former co-workers, then maybe you are already guilty in their eyes if they have knowledge of proof. If we are discount your peers and they have to say, then why are juries made up your peers? If we are also supposed to discount "ignorant" citizens who aren't police officers, then WHO is supposed to judge you here on Earth? No one, I'm sure. Are you above God also?

"Leland"

Shawn,

Its Leland not "Leand." Thanks for proving my point for me Shawn, AKA Leland Police Officer.

Also, if Smith and Blassingame are the best Leland has to offer. Heaven help the worst ones. The one officer couldn't even finish Sampson Community College.

Hey genius...

Go to your post above and correct the line that reads- "Hence, the Military was the only viable option for these guys and obviously it paid off because they would able to land an awesome job with the Leland Police Department!" Remove the word WOULD and replace it with WERE then you may return and correct Shawn. Leland BOY fits you well. Drive on cowgirl.

I swear!

Allow me to fix "YOUR" post "Grand Ole Geek"
1) Hence,<---(no coma needed) the Military was the only viable option for these guys and obviously it paid off because they would-->(be)<-- able to land an awesome job with the Leland Police Department!" <----this is whats called a "run on sentence"
B)Your wasting my Oxygen and making my head hurt!
32)Your breath smells like cheese and hippo butt!!! Say's who? Say's Kblue!

Oh and by the way...

The Hence comment, was a quote from Leland Boy. HENCE the use of the quotation marks. Guess you failed to understand that? Doof!! Next...

Says who? Says kblue don't have a clue.

Clueless

Headache? His brain SHOULD feel as good as new...seeing as how he's never used it.

How upsetting

If all of these allegations are true, the police officers that did this to her should be investigated thoroughly and disciplined severely. It sounds like the "good ole boy" network is alive and well in Leland. What a shame! There are so many good cops out there and these pathetic excuses for officer's give all of them a bad name!

A good housecleaning needs to be done in Leland - start with the ineffectual mayor and go from there.

LELAND PD

I LIVE IN LELAND AND ALSO HAVE A FRIEND WITH THE LELAND PD... THERE IS NO REASON TO PUT OFFICERS FAMILY ON HERE AND ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHATS GOING ON IN THE LELAND PD... THESE MEN AND WOMEN PUT THERE LIFE ON THE LINE EVERY DAY FOR US AND THEN THE COMMUNITY WANTS TO BASH THE OFFICERS AND FAMILY? MY FRIEND THAT WORKS FOR THE LELAND PD HAS SERVED THIS COUNTRY IN WAR AS WELL AS HIS WIFE SO I THINK YOU SHOULD ALL BE THANKFUL FOR THE SERVICE THEY HAVE GIVEN US AND DONT POINT THE FINGER JUST BECAUSE A FEW THINGS WENT WRONG IN THE PD.. REMEMBER ALL THESE MEN AND WOMEN ARE HUMAN AND WILL MAKE BAD DECISIONS SOMETIMES.. I ALSO THINK ITS FUNNY HOW SOME OFFICERS STARTED MOST OF THIS BECAUSE THERE JOBS WERE ON THE LINE YET NONE OF THESE OFFICERS ARE BEING NAMED ON HERE EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE MESSED UP MORE THEN THE PEOPLE BEING BASHED ON HERE..AS FAR AS THE PERSON THAT SAID HE TOLD HIS WIFE NOT TO CALL LELAND PD I THINK THATS A BAD MOVE ON YOUR PART..I WOULD RATHER MY WIFE HAVE THE LELAND PD COME OUT IF NEEDED THEN DO NOTHING BUT HEY I GUESS I WANT MY WIFE SAFE... ANYONE THAT THINKS THE LELAND PD IS SO BAD YOUR WELCOME TO MOVE BECAUSE THE LAST TIME I CHECKED ANYONE CAN SELL A HOME AND MOVE BUT WHEN YOU GO DEAL WITH THE WILMINGTON PD MAKE SURE YOU COME BACK AND TELL US HOW IT WORKED FOR YOU... THANKS LELAND PD FOR YOUR SERVICES... OH AND DONT FORGET PEOPLE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY BUT THAT DOESNT APPLY FOR LELAND PD I GUESS..

I have been following this

I have been following this story for some time now. Let me tell you, I am absolutely sick of these officers, their wives, and supporters bringing up their military service in conjunction with these ongoing stories. They want to talk about relevancy, yet they can't stick with the issues at hand.

I have family members who have served in the military (in combat during the draft)and are police officers. Not once EVER have I told others that they should be thankful for their service.

Stephanie Blasingame wrote on 9/19/11 the following statement regarding a post made about her husband: "I'd also like to point out that Officer Blasingame, along with many other Leland Police officers, have spent years of their life proudly serving in the military defending your right to post ignorant things, and get this..he had those "unbelievable tattoos" on his body!!!!! Outrageous I tell you! LOL. See that's the problem with this country. You want to be judgemental and stereotypical when you have no idea what you are talking about. Ignorance and stupidity never cease to amaze me. Not to mention being totally ungrateful!! I hope you have a blessed day relishing in the freedom in which we provide! :-)"

I cannot tell you how much this sickens me. If you want to talk about inflammatory remarks, those last two sentences take the cake. I naturally respect anyone who has served, but when they have attitudes like that, it is rather difficult. It also proves exactly what some of the commenters are saying about these officers and their wives' self-righteousness. No one owes anyone anything for VOLUNTEERING to join the military. The Outback does not even owe you a free blooming onion on Veterans Day, nor does this town owe you a parade. What ever happened to serving WITH pride, instead of serving FOR pride? What ever happened to self-less service instead of selfish service? If anyone on here is interested in seeing what REAL HEROES look like, drive up to Fayetteville and volunteer for the DAV. And then don't flaunt it. That's the important thing.

Those who are criticizing the Leland PD the loudest probably are in law enforcement or military themselves, because they know and understand the integrity these people are lacking. I would guess most comments are not coming from average citizens within the community or people who have "no idea what they are talking about". Hear that Leland? If you don't bow down to the Leland PD then you are "ignorant" and "stupid". Don't you people recognize excellence when you see it? Sheesh. To suggest that Leland PD would respond less enthusiastically, for lack of a better word, to anyone who has had issues with them, is really childish and immature, just like Chief Jayne deleting WWAY from his media contacts list. They learned it from the best, but certainly not the "finest".

Bravo! As a fellow

Bravo! As a fellow American, and humble veteran, I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion.

Look to the left

You should see a key labeled 'Caps Lock' and you should press it once. Check to see if the little light on your keyboard goes off. Otherwise, ask an adult for help.

Getting old!!

That same reply is getting very old!!! Try something else! NOT FUNNY AFTER THE 100TH TIME!!!

Don't read it then

Since it doesn't apply to you Juan, feel free to skip over any and all my posts. Now come mow my lawn.

not such a bad idea

I told my wife not to call Leland PD because I know whats going on more than this one little incident. There are some great cops in Leland but there are a lot of dirty cops and I am not going to risk it for my family. I would rather my wife grab a gun and wait 20 minutes for me to get home than to take a chance with the Leland PD. And in case you haven't noticed it isn't as easy to sell a house these days as you may think. Shouldn't have to even consider that I should be able to rely on elected officials to do their job and clean up the department

Has no one noticed that she

Has no one noticed that she can't even keep her lies straight. The story she told Skip is different than this one and the story she told the star news is different too. One story she says she was made to walk home then the other she says they told her to stand in the parking lot. One story she says she was hit in the crotch than the other it was her legs and abdomen. Come on lady get your lie straight. I'm glad the star news is starting to tell the other half to the story and not just taking sides with an obvious liar.

Karma

To everyone who has had nothing but negative things to say about the men who protect and serve in Leland.... I sure hope Karma doesn't bite you in the tail. These are the men who put their own lives at risk to SAVE YOURS!!!

I understand there has been some issues, and hopefully they get dealt with appropriately. BUT this doesn't mean EVERY SINGLE OFFICER at the LPD is a bad policeman. Did anyone notice the officer who helped the old lady who was choking near Wal Mart a couple weeks ago? Or how about during Hurricane Irene when all these officers had to leave their families at home to work extra hours to help protect YOUR families?? Or how about that bad accident on Hwy 133 a while back where Leland officers were some of the first responders making sure the people/children involved were comforted?

To anyone who lives in Leland and has had negative things to say...I sure hope you don't find yourself in a situation where you're calling 911 for help....because these officers who you all are bashing will be the ones showing up at your doorstep offering their help...