City Manager Joseph Scherer said in a statement this afternoon he city expects Chief Bobby Martin “to be fully exonerated” in a December officer-involved shooting.
Scherer sent the statement out as an update to the status of the matter. Martin remains on paid administrative leave.
“The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation … is the agency responsible for conducting the investigation of the incident. Once their investigation is complete and reviewed by their agency management, the investigation report is sent to the district attorney’s office for a final determination of any legal rulings being required,” the city manager said. “The process is a lengthy one and neither agency is required to provide the city any information until a final ruling is issued by the district attorney’s office.”
District Attorney Valerie Asbell said this afternoon she could not discuss a pending investigation.
Scherer concluded the statement saying, “We anticipate and expect Chief Martin to be fully exonerated in this incident and both he and the city administration eagerly await his return to duty as the city’s police chief.”
As the police department and city await a disposition, there will be a change in the acting chief’s position.
Initially, Captain Charles Vaught was named acting chief and Jamie Hardy the assistant acting chief.
Now, Hardy is acting chief and Vaught is assistant acting chief.
In a memo dated Wednesday and sent to department heads, the mayor city council and the city attorney, Scherer said, “At this point, it is still uncertain when Chief Martin will be exonerated by the SBI and the district attorney’s office and be returned to full duty status.
“This is due to how long the administrative process takes in matters like this. In looking at succession planning and department management training, I feel it is important to allow managers to be allowed to temporarily function in the next level up position to gain experience in what is required of someone in their potential next position.”
Scherer wrote since Vaught has had two months experience as the acting chief of police, “I am switching positions and appointing … Hardy as acting chief of police effective Monday, February 24, 2020. This will allow … Hardy to gain valuable knowledge and understanding about the chief’s position, just as … Vaught has done in his tenure … Vaught will switch positions and be acting assistant chief.”
The police-involved shooting is tied to a chase involving a Warrenton man who has been charged on three counts stemming from that day.
Darius Montrelle Carter, 32, faces charges of flee to elude, reckless driving to endanger and assault with a deadly weapon on a government official.
The assault charge reflects Carter reputedly tried to run over Martin.
Carter is due back in Halifax County District Court March 18.