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State Capitol Police chief's firing upheld

State Capitol Police acting Chief Tony Asion should never have allowed his subordinates to work off-duty at a crime-plagued Raleigh nightclub, according to a letter released Wednesday by Department of Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan upholding Asion’s firing.

Shanahan’s letter says Asion should have steered clear of Club B.E.D. because it had a bad reputation: Both the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the Raleigh Police Department refused to allow their officers to work off-duty there because it was “too dangerous.”

There were at least two incidents in which off-duty Capitol Police employees had to arrest people at the club. In one incident, an assailant fired a gun at an off-duty officer but missed. “This near-miss could have gone much worse,” Shanahan wrote.

Asion failed to consider what might happen if any state officers were injured, nor whether they had appropriate workers compensation coverage, nor considered what liability the state might have, the secretary wrote.

Shanahan also upheld the firing of Sgt. Benjamin Franklin, who also worked off-duty at the club.

Asion was also faulted for not getting authorization ahead of time, allowing off-duty officers to use state vehicles and then charging the club an hourly usage fee, which he collected in a checking account where it was mingled with fees for other work performed at Club B.E.D. The money was never used for gas or vehicle maintenance, the letter says.

Update:

The letter says Asion claimed the work was actually on-duty because the officers wore their state uniforms. Shanahan noted the club is five miles from the downtown Raleigh area that is the police force's main responsibility.

Franklin contended he was working at Asion's direction, but Shanahan discounted that. Franklin also managed the banking account, and paid himself an administrative fee of $773 from that account, the letter says.

Asion's attorney, Michael C. Byrne, last month said set up a plan to help officers earn extra money, and that did not amount to a firing offense. Asion has filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming he was fired for questioning supposed double-dipping pay for some employees.


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