Hanover NAACP calls for investigation after deputy decertified

Hanover NAACP calls for investigation after deputy decertified
Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 10:13:44-05

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The Hanover County NAACP held a news conference Monday asking the Hanover County Commonwealth Attorney's Office to investigate all cases brought forward by a now-former Hanover County Sheriff's deputy who resigned at the end of last year and has since been decertified.

"We are concerned with some injustices that are occurring here in Hanover County," said Hanover County NAACP President Patricia Hunter-Jordan.

The former deputy in question is Christopher Ryan Payne, who a Hanover County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said was employed with them from January 2015 to December 2021.

They said that in late November 2021, they launched an internal investigation of Payne that lasted until early December and "worked closely with the Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office." At the end of the investigation, the spokesperson said Payne “resigned with cause.”

When asked what prompted the investigation, the spokesperson said they "regularly conduct internal audits". He said they could not share what was found in the investigation because it was a personnel matter.

After the investigation, the department -- per Virginia code section 15.2-1707 -- notified the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), which handles officer decertification in Virginia, within 48 hours of Payne's case.

A list provided to CBS 6 from DCJS that detailed officers who have been decertified in Virginia, said Payne was decertified on Dec. 29, 2021.

The reason listed for decertification is "reporting inaccuracies" and referenced a section of the Virginia code that said a law enforcement office would notify DCJS if an employee "is terminated or resigns for an act committed while in the performance of his duties that compromises an officer's credibility, integrity, honesty, or other characteristics that constitute exculpatory or impeachment evidence in a criminal case."

An employee of DCJS told CBS 6 that Payne "received his notice of decertification on January 29, 2022 via certified mail" and has 30 days from that date to appeal the decision. As of Tuesday morning, DCJS said no appeal has been submitted.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said their handling of the matter was "an example of law enforcement holding ourselves accountable and only wanting the very best to be a part of this profession."

Hunter-Jordan said prior to learning of Payne's decertification, the Hanover NAACP had received at least 30 complaints of his conduct and were looking into it.

She said now they want the Hanover County Commonwealth's Attorney to investigate all cases that were brought forward by Payne and have sent a letter requesting that.

"We're here to call attention to the fact that these things are happening in Hanover and we need corrective action, that we need transparency," said Hunter-Jordan. "We do not want the sheriff's department involved in it. But we trust our Commonwealth Attorney to be able to carry this out. If we see that the results are not as expected, as anticipated, then we may make a further request for an outside investigation."

CBS 6 has reached out to the Hanover County Commonwealth's Attorney but has not heard back, as Monday is a federal holiday.



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