ONLY ON 3: Columbus Co. detention officer under investigation after fight over poker machine

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A fight over a video poker machine has turned into an internal affairs investigation at the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office.

Monica Stribling often stops by the Corner Store in Cerro Gordo to play video poker. She says detention officer Lt. Clementine Thompson is also a regular customer. On February 17 things got tense between the two women.

“Clementine was standing at the entrance to the door, and she asked me was I playing the machine, and I told her no, but I was going to play,” Stribling said. “And she said, ‘Well, it looks like you need to put your damn money in the machine,’ and I told her, ‘When I get damn ready, I will.'”

Stribling says she refused to move, so Lt. Thompson began reaching around her to play. That did not last long.

“She went from the bottom of the stool and tried to snatch me out the stool, and thank God, ’cause I caught myself on the machine to keep from falling,” Stribling said. “I fell on my back, and Clementine got on top of me and started beating me in my face.”

Two days later, Stribling went to the hospital for a concussion and bruises. She also filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office against Lt. Thompson.

We contacted Sheriff Chris Batten about these allegations made against one of his detention officers. He was not in the office, but told us an internal investigation is underway.

“We may have to do multiple interviews with the same people if conflicting statements arise,” Batten said during a phone interview. “We just have to go through the process and see what takes place.”

Meanwhile, Stribling faces charges for injury to personal property, because Lt. Thompson’s glasses got broken during the fight.

Stribling’s court appearance is Friday. She also plans to take a warrant out against Lt. Thompson for assault.

Thompson told us she was advised not to speak about the fight.

Categories: Columbus

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