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Chief denies allegations in wrongful termination trial

READ MORE: Chief denies allegations in wrongful termination trial

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Testimony continued today in the wrongful termination trial of a former Holden Beach Police officer. Holden Beach's Police Chief testified against drinking allegations, while one of his officers was suspected of being on drugs during his testimony today.

"I absolutely was not intoxicated, nor had I been drinking," Chief Wally Layne said on the stand.

Terri Oxford says she could smell alcohol on Layne's breath when he arrived at a crime scene in 2004, but Layne says Oxford never called Highway Patrol or the town manager to the scene to act on her suspicions.

Ironically, Tuesday's testimony was interrupted by more suspicions of intoxication in the courtroom. Judge Ola Lewis called out another Holden Beach officer, Gerald Watkins, after he testified.

"The court is concerned about your appearance here this morning, sir," Lewis told Watkins from the bench. "I'm not trying to embarrass you, but your eyes appear red and glassy."

Watkins took a drug test. It came back negative. Judge Lewis confirmed he has a medical condition.

Watkins and fellow Holden Beach Police officer Mike Hamilton both claim to be friends with Oxford. Tuesday they told jurors similar stories that they do not believe Oxford was a victim of discrimination at work.

Chief Layne also testified about Oxford's patrol car. He said she never told him she felt her life was in danger driving it. Layne added if he was in Oxford's shoes, he would not have put the general public in danger by driving a dangerous car.

Layne took over as permanent chief in 2003 after Oxford served as interim chief. He testified there's been hard feelings between oxford and him ever since.

Layne also testified to giving Oxford high performance evaluations and the maximum pay raise he was allowed to grant her. Attorneys for the Town of Holden Beach also said Oxford was promoted to detective sergeant, when another officer, a male, had more experience.

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Go Terri!

I truly hope Terri wins. It is obvious to me that she was discriminated against. You would think that in this day and age that people would no better.

Way to go, Chief Layne!!

Way to go, Chief Layne!! You have to wonder why no one has bothered to talk about Oxford being promoted to detective sergeant over a more experienced male officer..... oh, I guess that slipped their minds in the interest of a sexual discrimination lawsuit. I would imagine it's hard to falsely accuse someone of that when people have all the facts!!


She was promoted to Det. Sgt with the previous chief, and promised the Lt. position. He deneid her that, and then took away her rank over other officers. In the hierarchy of police rank she was pushed to the side not promoted. She was already in that position when he arrived, so he did not promote anything but problems. The man promoted the Lt. over her had previously been fired for misconduct.

She was promised the

She was promised the position of Lt. from the previous chief, ACCORDING TO HER. I don't know of anyone who would come into a department, be it law enforcement or not, and give someone a position just because they say so. Did she have that in writing? If she did why didn't she produce it? My guess would be because it NEVER happened. She was so angry that she didn't get the Chief's job she was determined she was going to have something higher than what she had. Her rank was not taken away, she was moved into a Monday thru Friday position with weekends and holidays off. PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING LIKE THAT!!!!! PUNISH ME!!! I would love for someone to tell me that's what I would be working.


So u walk into a department and someone in the interim chiefs position-which would only be done by the obvious next in command- and she just lies? A bold lie; being that the position she was trusted would be the obvious candidate for next in command. The other officers cooberated the fact that she was promised the position, which is standard when someone is in the interim position they simply go back to next in command. But he walked in and saw a WOMAN in that position and conveniently took it away until an oportune moment simply for spite and to try and get rid of her. He said it on the stand like the extraordinarily smart (major sarcasm intended)person he is that he met HER and targeted to get rid of her from day one. That day job was 2p-10p, which is obviously the perfect timing for a day job. He put her in that time slot so he could make investigative work harder to get work done in only 3 hours of business time availble and because he did not want to be around her to continue to shun her. Steve Wheeler-not the ex chief- promised her that position when he knew she was not getting the chiefs position and she did get that in writing because she did not think she would have to and trusted the manager who told her that. She had other officers under her command which was taken away and they were told not to listen to her that she has the sergeant title in name only so yes position was taken away. As far as her being angry about not getting the chiefs job, thats funny, she was not angry at all, she was disappointed but who wouldnt be. She was happy to get back to detective work because she was loving that work. I would know I talked to her all the time obviously. She was not vagrantly mean and a spiteful woman because of that, that is what is the funniest thing about all this. The other side is all about her being revengeful because of the chiefs postition and she was not, at all. She was not even going to apply, she was asked to apply and was flattered but did not have much hope of getting it. Seriously, she was great to go back to the detectives position and did it well.


Thanks for clearing that up for those patting Chief Layne on the back. If daughter means you are Terri's you have a Mom to be proud of. We miss seeing her on the island and sure felt safer when she was on duty. She always did her job diligently with dignity and acted professionally while being friendly and kind. She took the time to get to know the people she was protecting. GO TERRI! Go Wally, back to VA. This little community doesn't need your big city ways.

Holden Beach Police

I hope the drug test included a blood alcohol test. Is a hangover a medical condition?

Medical Condition?


Are you serious

No, but stupidity should be!


this report rambles on about names and time frames with no coherency please rewrite with some more insight on the names and time lines before posting online.


Who is Watkins..which Lewis said it?? Judge Lewis or Officer Lewis, and why is Oxford in small case letters? I can't believe that whoever wrote this actually works as a reporter and shouldn't someone be editing the reports before being printed?
This is one reason why your news agency is looked down on.