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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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