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


Tags: , , , , ,

Submitted: Fri, 10/28/2011 - 3:59am
Updated: Fri, 01/20/2012 - 5:36pm
By:

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.

Leave a Reply

71 Comments on "FIRST ON 3: Former Leland officer talks about shooting, harassment within department"


karma1427
2015 years 8 months ago

I’m not a Leland Police Officer…And I’m not even a police officer at all.

I know several Leland Police Officers, and its ashamed that all of this is giving their department a bad name and hurting their reputation as a whole. The officers I do know “ARE AMBASSADORS OF THEIR BADGE 24/7.”

I did state that I understand there are some issues that hopefully get dealt with appropriately…meaning that people who Are in the wrong should accept the consequences when it comes to punishment. BUT there are officers in Leland who are GOOD officers and go to work everyday to protect and serve their community. Not necessarily this story but in ones past, people are just bashing the department and all the officers as a whole. My original post wasn’t a THREAT…it was more of a “think before You speak” or “if you don’t Have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all” kind of post because you never know when you may need help and the ones you bashed are the runs coming to your rescue.

And it is ashamed that peoples names are being thrown around in comments….We are only human and we all Have made mistakes in our lifetime.I’m sure Sherry herslef has even made a few mistakes before…

Sick and Tired
2015 years 8 months ago

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”.

Sick and Tired
2015 years 8 months ago

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?

Sick and Tired
2015 years 8 months ago

Nah, it sounded like a threat to me too. I don’t buy that first sentence at all. Men and women who wear a badge are held to higher standards. I would expect them to aid even their worst enemies with urgency, respect, and care. If they can’t do that, they should resign.

ArnoldSchwarzenegger
2015 years 8 months ago

-In my Arnold voice- It’s not PTSS.

Read this description and see if it fits better “Delusions of Grandeur is a false belief that one is more important or powerful than they really are. It is often associated with Psychosis (an inability to correctly evaluate reality). PTSD is not a psychosis. Personality traits and character flaws are usually set in childhood. Those diagnosed with PTSD do not lie any more than anyone else.”

Well, guess that excludes JC from having PTSD as he has supreme delusions of grandeur AND he’s a HUGE pathological liar. This information came from http://www.pownetwork.org, a site devoted to bringing military imposters to justice. Oops. Have no idea why I was there.