Area citizens are calling for the reinstatement of former Mount Gilead Police Chief Ralph Vieux.
At the May 12 regular monthly meeting of town commissioners, Anthony David Allsbrook and Leon Turner presented a petition calling for a reversal of the town’s April 16 decision to dismiss Vieux. The dismissal came shortly after Vieux’s wife made allegations of abuse. Those charges were dismissed April 23 in Randolph County District Court.
Allsbrook said he and the other petitioners believe the decision to terminate Vieux’s employment was made too soon.
“We feel like the mayor and commissioners rushed their judgment against the chief,” said Allsbrook. “The law allows a person to be innocent until proven guilty (and) the due process of law was denied to the chief.”
Speaking a short time later, Leon Turner asked the mayor, commissioners and town manager for some explanation as to why Vieux was dismissed, but the board declined to comment on advice of counsel. Turner said he decided to take action because no official reason had been given for the action.
“I’m speaking up because this man’s name was dragged through the mud with no explanation of why,” Turner stated.
Turner also expressed his belief that allegations should have been more carefully considered before action was taken.
“This man has almost a 20-year record unblemished,” said Turner, “but, come to Mount Gilead and work four or five months, (he gets) his name just drug through the mud because of accusations.”
“Anybody can be accused of anything, but you’ve got to have proof that (he has) done something, and nothing has been proved that he’s done anything.”
The petitioners say they have more than 300 signatures supporting their request. Turner acknowledged that some of those people live outside the town limit, but he noted that many of those people do business in Mount Gilead and live in the area near town that also receives some services from the police department.
Commissioners had no immediate comment.