Sheriff Coleman's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds | Beaufort County Now | So, the Sheriff is a participating member of this august body of law enforcement professionals that demand accountability from all Deputies. Yet, he does not demand the same from himself.

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    Publisher's note: If anyone finds fault with the veracity of these well considered words by former Chief Deputy Harry Meredith, we implore you to please take issue with what Mr. Meredith considers to be true right here on BCN, either by comment or by posted article, and you will receive all the space that is reasonable to refute these allegations.

    These articles from Chief Deputy Harry Meredith, Ret. are showing a consistent pattern of data, and an intent to express what he believes to be true. The entirety of these ongoing posts can be found archived here.



    I have detailed in other articles how Sheriff Coleman was not truthful while under oath in a civil case involving Michael Sheppard. The county settled this case for $175,000.00. Federal court Judge Dever found Sheriff Coleman's testimony "not credible" (case number 4:19-cv-86-D). Judge Dever stated in open court that he found the conduct of North Carolina Sheriff Ernie Coleman disturbing.

    It is the duty of a prosecutor to disclose any information or evidence that could be considered favorable to the defense in a criminal case. This disclosure must include any information that the defense could use to impeach a law enforcement officer by showing any bias or lack of credibility. This disclosure is referred to as Giglio material. The courts have found that a law enforcement officer that is not credible "where credibility is the central issue in the case and the evidence presented at trial consists of opposing stories is presented by the defendant and government agents" could mean the difference between being found guilty or not guilty.

    Prosecutors have an independent duty to discover any relative negative information on any law enforcement officer that testifies in a case. When a District Attorney learns of a law enforcement officer being untruthful in an internal investigation or while testifying in court, he may issue a Giglio letter, often referred to as a "death letter" to the head of the agency. In many cases, this means the officer can no longer testify in court.

    Here is a quick scenario for you. Ernie is in his patrol car riding by the Food Lion on 264 East. He sees a man pull out a gun and then shoots a woman while her hands are raised above her head. A knife is found at the scene. Ernie later learns the woman is the man's estranged wife. At trial, the man says he was defending himself. He claims she had a knife in her hand and attempted to stab him just as he shot. Ernie's eye witness testimony contradicts that story. The defense produces the "death letter" from the District Attorney's Office. In part, the District Attorney's letter would state that "having the defense use evidence of your conduct to attack your testimony, and then attempting to rehabilitate you by convincing a judge or jury that your testimony is both truthful and without bias is simply insurmountable". The jury could find Ernie's testimony untruthful based on his past untruthful testimony in court.

    Ernie is a member of the NC Sheriffs' Association and has been a spokesman for that organization. Recently the Association produced a 31 page report making recommendations for more reforms. The report strongly recommends all hiring agencies and certification agencies focus on "misconduct by officers, including untruthfulness, that would impair the officer's credibility as a witness in criminal prosecutions and which must be disclosed to the defense".

    As always with Ernie, the rules and laws are for the little people, not the High Sheriff.

    So, the Sheriff is a participating member of this august body of law enforcement professionals that demand accountability from all Deputies. Yet, he does not demand the same from himself. What can we expect from the Deputies when the Sheriff displays a lack of integrity? Is Ernie leading them by example down the wrong path?

    Who demands accountability from the Sheriff? The Commissioners are powerless. The people are powerless for another year. Will Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons review the findings of his fellow judge and take action? Will District Attorney Seth Edwards issue a "death letter"? Will Ernie be prosecuted or is that for the little people who lie? Is he really too powerful to be held accountable?

    Ernie vilified Michael Sheppard in the media. Many times Ernie stated the facts in the complaints were lies and he would prevail in court. Well, Ernie did not prevail. He lost both cases brought against him by two Deputies, Sheppard and Franks. In 2019 the Sheppard case was in the Top Ten stories posted by the Washington Daily News. As of today, the WDN and other media sources have failed to report on these cases, including Ernie's behavior in court, in an effort to help restore the reputation of the Deputies. Does the media fear the High and Mighty Sheriff Coleman too?

    I'll close with two quotes to consider:

    "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." - John Stuart Mill

        Harry W. Meredith, Jr.

poll#144
Have Sheriff Offices in North Carolina, possibly even Beaufort County's Sheriff Office, become too political in the discharging of their sworn constitutional duties?
  No, the sheriff is a constitutional officer.
  Yes, the Sheriff Office, on strong occasion, often reverts back to political patronage in the dispensation of their sworn constitutional duties.
  I feel that heavy politics, and law enforcement is a strange marriage of dutiful aspirations.
373 total vote(s)     What's your Opinion?


poll#143
Should Beaufort County elected officials demand that every alleged incident of Child Rape be investigated in Beaufort County?
  Yes, without fail, irrespective of the parties involved; this heinous crime must be investigated, and the truth be known, and responsible parties prosecuted.
  No, some Beaufort County citizens are more elite than others, and these types of investigations can be most damaging to the alleged party in question.
467 total vote(s)     What's your Opinion?

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( December 9th, 2021 @ 6:16 am )
 
If anyone finds fault with the veracity of these well considered words by former Chief Deputy Harry Meredith, we implore you to please take issue with what Mr. Meredith considers to be true right here on BCN, either by comment or by posted article, and you will receive all the space that is reasonable to refute these allegations.



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