Former River Bend police sergeant speaks about firing

RIVER BEND, N.C. (WITN) -The former police sergeant of River Bend in Craven County is speaking out after he was fired last summer for what were undisclosed reasons at the time. His sudden termination left some in shock and without answers as to why he was exactly fired.

During a public presentation Tuesday night, Jonathan Whitley talked about what he says happened to, in his words, clear his name.

Whitley says, “What they said happened to me, were not the true facts that occurred.”

Whitley served as a police sergeant for River Bend since March 2020. This past June he was fired. Two patrol officers resigned days later.

Whitley says rumors began about why he was fired, most notably, that he had an affair with another woman, which he says isn’t true or the reason. “The reason for my termination was the actual fighting with an officer, which I didn’t do. There was video evidence of that, but it was deleted because the chief of police didn’t retain that evidence for it to be consumed by the public or allowed to be consumed.”

One of the officers that resigned is who the police department says Whitley got into a fight with.

Whitley says the other officer resigned after Whitley confronted him about having an alleged relationship with a subordinate.

Before the meeting on Tuesday, WITN spoke with River Bend Mayor John Kirkland who said, “A lawsuit was involved in the firing of Whitley that we feel justifies everything.”

Whitley disputes that. “We never started any courtroom proceedings. It was settled before it ever went to court.”

The town offered Whitley the opportunity to speak to the public Tuesday about his firing after seven months, which he’s grateful for. “It’s very nice to have that closure and I can be able to move on.”

Whitley also says that the settlement between him and the town prevents him from ever working any job with the police department.

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