Filing sheds some light on chief’s suspension

By on January 24, 2012

Two affidavits filed in Pasquotank County Superior Court allege “multiple grounds” for an inquiry to suspend or remove District Attorney Frank Parrish from office.

One of the affidavits sheds some light on the recent suspension of Kill Devil Hills Police Chief Gary Britt. In that document, Andy Ennis, who states he has been employed as a police officer in Kill Devil Hills “for about 10 years,” lists several allegations against Britt.

The document, filed by attorney Kathryn Fagan, says Ennis “informed the District Attorney of the First Judicial District that the police chief of Kill Devil Hills, Chief Britt, was falsifying documents.”

According to the affidavit, Ennis “requested a copy of my personnel files and learned there were several copies and they were in more than one location. I then learned that they were falsified.”

“I requested an investigation by the district attorney’s office and was told by Mr. Parrish that he felt strongly about removing Chief Britt,” Ennis says in the affidavit. He added that “the information regarding the falsified documents was provided to Mr. George Ryan, the District Attorney’s investigator.”

Ennis said in the affidavit that he tried to contact the district attorney and “contact was finally made and Chief Britt was suspended.” During the months that passed, Ennis contends “a prompt investigation was promised” and “the situation at the Kill Devil Hills Police Department continued to deteriorate.”

According to the court document, Parrish told Ennis “he was allowing the town to take the lead in this investigation as a courtesy” and “He (Parrish) assured me that if the town did not do an adequate investigation he (Parrish) would remove Chief Britt from office (and) that Mr. Parrish would draft the petition and file it.”

The document ends by saying Ennis learned a few days before Christmas of 2011 that “Mr. Britt was no longer on suspension and the he was being restored to office.”

An inquiry under NCGS-7A-66 was requested “to determine if it is appropriate to remove or suspend Mr. Parrish from the office of District Attorney for the First Judicial District.”

Britt was not available Tuesday morning for comment. Kill Devil Hills Town Manager Debora Diaz said she could not discuss Britt’s situation and Parrish said ethics rules precluded him from commenting. Britt was put on non-disciplinary suspension in October and returned to work in December.

In the second affidavit, also filed by Fagan, a female victim of domestic violence says she was granted a protective order in 2009 and that the order was violated in late 2010. That resulted in a case being filed against the person who violated the order.

The affiant contends the district attorney was aware of actions taken by the defendant, including pleading guilty to five protective order violations, injury to real and personal property, breaking and entering and cyber-stalking, vandalizing the victim’s home, threatening voice, text and emails and other actions.

The affiant then alleges that “after death threats against myself and the assistant district attorney on the case were received, Frank Parrish dismissed the case” and further contends, that as a result, the defendant “was allowed to continue his dangerous behavior toward another woman in the Greensboro.”

According to the affidavit, a case has been filed in Greensboro, and the defendant has a trial set for Jan. 25, 2012.

According to NCGS 7A-66, seven reasons are specified for the removal or suspension of a district attorney. The procedure requires an affidavit be filed with the clerk of the superior court where the district attorney resides. The clerk will then “immediately bring the matter to the attention of the senior regular resident superior court judge.”

The statutes specifies the assigned judge has 30 days to review and act on the charges, or can refer them within 30 days to another superior court judge residing in or holding court in the district.

The affidavits are similar to civil cases and represent only one side of the case. Other parties will have an opportunity to respond.

Rob Morris contributed to this story.

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