Trooper fired for kicking dog gets his job back
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
You may find some of the video in this story disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
RALEIGH - A state trooper once fired for kicking his police dog is now back on the job. Sgt. Charles Jones successfully argued he was improperly fired.
Earlier this year, the state Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling that Jones should be reinstated with back pay.
The State Highway Patrol fired the trooper in 2007 when cell phone video of him disciplining his police dog, Ricoh, went viral. It shows Jones dangling Ricoh and kicking his legs out from under him. Ricoh was not injured in the incident.
“Anytime you see an animal abused in such a way, it instills rage and anyone who has seen that footage would be angry,” said Kim Alboum, state director of the Humane Society of the U.S.
But Jones' supporters insist it's not what animal activists would have you believe.
“Looks can be deceiving,” said John Midgette, executive director of the N.C. Police Benevolent Association. “There's no doubt that video gives people pause and concern about what they see. The fact is, he was doing in accordance with his training. It's a training module that while it looks bad, it is done for the purpose and at the forefront of public safety first.”
Jones spent nearly five years fighting the patrol in court, trying to get his job back. After multiple court rulings in his favor, it all paid off and, on Monday, Jones started working as a state trooper again.
He declined our request for an interview, but reaction to his reinstatement was just as split as the reaction was to his initial firing.
“Here we have a state trooper who was clearly abusing an animal, which is against the law, so yes, I do believe he should have lost his job,” Alboum said.
“We're very happy that Trooper Jones is back to work,” Midgette said. “He's a fantastic law enforcement officer. He's a credit to the profession. He loves the highway patrol and he loves his dog.”
Jones is now working with the Highway Patrol's Accident Reconstruction Unit. It does not involve working with a police dog.
While fighting to win back his highway patrol job, he worked for the Apex Police Department. While there, he received two Medals of Valor for saving peoples' lives.
The N.C. Police Benevolent Association said there are still ongoing lawsuits against former Gov. Mike Easley and highway patrol leaders for Jones' wrongful termination.