HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Hanover County NAACP has called for an investigation into cases handled by a now-decertified sheriff’s deputy after he allegedly made false reports while on the job.
The call for a probe comes after 8News first exposed the disciplinary actions on Virginia police officers, recently ousted in light of a new state law calling for further oversight of their performance.
The Hanover NAACP said they sent a letter to the Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney to ask for an investigation into cases that Deputy Christopher Ryan Payne handled, noting they had already received 30 complaints at the time of the 8News investigation.
Public records show Payne “reported inaccuracies.” Before that, he was named ‘officer of the year’ several times.
On Monday, Feb. 21 the sheriff’s office said they investigated Payne in late November in consult with the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, and said he “resigned with cause”. However, they did not share the circumstances surrounding why he was no longer on the force.
The NAACP alleged some people were charged under false pretenses after Payne interacted with them.
In one example, Hanover NAACP President Patricia Hunter-Jordan alleged someone was charged with driving under the influence, and yet they were originally followed and then stopped by Payne for rolling through a stop sign.
“They had other time off work, they had to go back to court, they were losing money from work, all of this because of these things that happened,” Hunter-Jordan said of the fallout of those Payne allegedly interacted with.
While Hunter-Jordan said she is confident the county commonwealth’s attorney can investigate without outside influence from the sheriff’s office– where Payne worked from 2015 to 2021– she said the NAACP may seek an investigation elsewhere if they don’t get the results they want.
The county and the sheriff’s office have not shared specifics on the allegations surrounding Payne.
Among the other police departments where officers were decertified, Chesterfield, and their police chief Col. Jeffrey Katz shared in detail why he fired several of his own officers after allegations of misconduct on the force.
A late afternoon statement from the Hanover Sheriff’s Office said that internal investigation into Payne “is an example of law-enforcement holding ourselves accountable and only wanting to the very best to be a part of this profession.“