Former Mocksville Officers File Federal Lawsuit
WFMY News2 - April 5, 2012
Mocksville, NC-- Thursday, three former officers of the Mocksville Police Department filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Town of Mocksville, Administrative Chief of Police Robert Cook, and Town Manager Christine Bralley. The officers claim in the lawsuit that their First Amendment rights to free speech in fighting corruption within the department were violated. According to the former officers, Major Kenneth Hunter, Lieutenant Rick Donathan, and Detective Jerry Medlin they were all terminated by the Mocksville Police Department on December 29, 2011 after speaking out against corrupt practices within the police department. The lawsuit also states that the firings came after the officers contacted the Office of Governor Perdue to report serious allegations of corruption by Administrative Chief Cook and to request an independent investigation when higher Town authorities refused to take action. Attorneys for the former police officers said, Officers Hunter, Donathan, and Medlin, who had long histories of service to the Department, lost their jobs because of their efforts to maintain honor and integrity within the Mocksville Police Department. History of the officers provided by the attorneys: Officer Hunter had been employed since 1985 and had risen from patrol officer to Major and Assistant Chief in his 27 years of exemplary service. He earned multiple honors for his service over the years, including the Legion of Merit Award in 1988, the Jaycees Outstanding Officer of the Year in 1997, the Meritorious Service Award from the MPD in 1998, the N.C. Governor's Award for outstanding community service in 2000, Outstanding Executive of Who's Who for 2009. Officer Donathan had been employed since 1997 and had risen to Lieutenant during the month prior to his termination. He has been highly honored, receiving the Officer of the Year Awards in 2000 and 2007, the 2007 Silver Star Award for Bravery, and induction into the National Police Hall of Fame in Titusville, Florida. Many in the community will remember Lieutenant Donathan's bravery in 2007 when he saved the lives of eight people from a burning building while on duty. Officer Medlin served the Davie County Sheriff's Office as a patrol deputy and school resource officer prior to coming to the Mocksville Police Department in June 2006. He rose from patrol officer to detective within the Department, and investigated several serious and newsworthy crimes, including identifying and capturing one of North Carolina's Ten Most Wanted Criminals, Michael James Dolphin, known as the "Bearcat Bandit." He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in March 2010. Detective Medlin was the co-founder of the Davie County Gang Awareness Task Force, and served the Department as the designated gang officer. Since 2008, he has also served as an instructor with the NC Justice Training and Standards Center. The officers are represented by Robert "Hoppy" Elliot and Alison L. Maddux from Elliot Pishko Morgan, P.A. in Winston-Salem. The firm is proud to represent these fine officers as they pursue legal action for the loss of their dedicated careers of service in law enforcement with the Mocksville Police Department.