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Ex-deputies claim reporting comments led to firings

January 15, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two former deputies say a newly elected North Carolina sheriff fired them two years after they reported a supervisor’s inappropriate comments during “sensitivity training.” The supervisor has been promoted.

Since Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker took office, he’s fired or demoted dozens of staffers, including Gray Speight and Steven Williamson. They believe it was retaliation.

WRAL-TV reports internal investigation notes show then-Lt. Teddy Patrick signaled during the 2017 sessions that he thought being gay was wrong, but he could work with gay people.

Then-Sheriff Donnie Harrison sought out deputies, including Speight and Williamson, to recount what was said. Despite recommendations for termination, Harrison demoted Patrick.

In a statement, Baker says Patrick’s promotion to captain came after a “thorough review” that included the “training session comments and their context and purpose.”

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