Speaker calls for transparent police investigation | The Johnstonian News
The Johnstonian News

Speaker calls for transparent police investigation

Posted on January 10, 2022

Updated on January 15, 2022

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Angelique Legette appeals to the Smithfield Town Council for an impartial and transparent investigation into a complaint of police misconduct.

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Angelique Legette appeals to the Smithfield Town Council for an impartial and transparent investigation into a complaint of police misconduct.

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SMITHFIELD —Police Capt. Ryan Sheppard remains on leave while the department investigates an off-duty incident in Morrisville.

In December, Terence Priester of Halifax filed a criminal summons accusing Sheppard of communicating threats and stalking after a dispute over a parking space at a store.

Last week, in appearing before the Smithfield Town Council, Angelique Legette said the outcome of Priester’s complaint was a matter for a court to decide. “I’m actually here to appeal to the council members to ensure transparency in this internal investigation with this law enforcement officer,” she said.

Legette held up the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office as an example for Smithfield to follow. “They had a deputy who used excessive force on a young Black man, and Sheriff (Steve) Bizzel immediately dealt with that,” she said.

Legette said she did not expect the Police Department to release every detail of its findings. “We cannot ask for everything that is going to be said in that internal investigation,” she said. “But what we can ask for is to reassure our citizens that we are for what’s right, for what’s just, for what’s fair.”

A law enforcement officer herself, Legette said police can make no excuses for bad behavior. “We have to let everyone know ... it’s not something that happens here in Smithfield or Johnston County,” she said. “It’s something that’s going to be nipped in the bud.”

“It’s hard being a law enforcement, but we have to acknowledge the fact that we are always going to be held to a higher standard,” Legette added. “Being mindful of that, we have a different decorum, and we have to maintain it no matter what.”

Legette asked for a thorough and impartial internal investigation. “I just hope Smithfield will take the example of the sheriff and do their investigation without bias, looking at all the facts, the totality of the circumstances, and let Smithfield and Johnston County know that that does not happen here,” she said of police misconduct.

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