Leaked recording of Pitt Co. sheriff raises questions

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A recording circulating online of the Pitt County sheriff using profane language has raised questions in the community.

As it turns out, the tape was recorded by one of Sheriff Paula Dance’s own employees and then posted online.

WITN spoke with Dance, who said the conversation was recorded without her knowledge nearly two months ago, and the employee who recorded it has been on medical leave ever since.

“I feel like if there’s a issue with the way that I’m leading, there’s the door,” Dance can be heard saying in the recording. “Anybody can feel free to leave. This stuff with all the street gang guys, they’re leaving, well ****, I don’t give a ****. Let them go. Let ‘em go, I don’t care. I’ll replace them quickly, there’s 15 of ‘em sitting over there waiting to get over in that unit right now. So people wanna leave, let ‘em go. That’s no problem with-”

The sheriff, who is running to keep her position against candidate Gary Weaver, claims the recording was a face-to-face personal conversation.

“… a personnel issue that I was dealing with in which an employee violated some policies,” Dance explained.

According to Dance, the employee who secretly recorded the conversation is Nathaniel Bryan, who went on medical leave after that conversation and hasn’t been back to work since.

“It absolutely was me,” Dance confirms. “I encourage Mr. Bryan to release the entire conversation that prefaces the tone and seriousness of policy violations and we shall see if the other violations rise to the level of an illegality.”

Dance also claims that the recording was posted online by supporters of Weaver, her opponent. Weaver and Dance also faced off for sheriff in 2018, with Dance emerging victorious by 10 points.

Weaver says he has heard the recording of Dance and wishes there was more context behind it.

“I don’t think any person should talk to an employee like that, so I don’t know what the gist of the conversation was… I just know what I heard and I don’t agree with what I heard. That’s it,” Weaver said.

WITN has reached out to Bryan by phone and text and he would not comment on the context behind the recorded conversation and why he was secretly recording the sheriff.

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