A civilian panel has upheld the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s firing of a veteran police captain accused of failing to report that an assault victim came to his home seeking help.
The Civil Service Board’s action came after Capt. Chuck Adkins, a former official in the department’s Internal Affairs office, testified for more than three hours Tuesday before the panel.
The department has said Adkins broke CMPD policy by failing to immediately alert law enforcement about his Sept. 19 conversation with a woman who came to his home while he was in his garage. She had been kidnapped, handcuffed to a toilet and beaten. The policy dictates that officers report domestic violence when there are signs of physical injury.
On Tuesday, attorney Bob McDonnell, who is representing the police department, repeatedly asked Adkins whether anything the woman told him at his home signaled that he was dealing with a domestic violence incident.
Adkins said the woman told him she had been beaten up by her boyfriend, although at one point she denied they were in a relationship. He said he didn’t think the pair met the state statutory definition of a relationship, making it domestic violence case.
The woman worked as a prostitute, according to previous testimony from CMPD, and was fleeing a pimp in September when she spotted Adkins at his house and asked to use his phone. She had suffered visible injuries, including facial swelling and marks on her wrists and dried blood.
But instead of calling police, Adkins let the woman use his cellphone to contact a friend for a ride.
Adkins said he did not immediately see the woman’s injuries, but they became visible when she stepped into his lit garage.
Adkins is a 22-year CMPD veteran who has worked a number of roles, including one in the department’s Internal Affairs bureau. He most recent was as a watch commander overseeing police operations on nights or weekends.
On Sept. 19, Adkins said, he had gotten off his shift that morning before heading home, where he went to sleep. Later, he spent more than four hours in class at UNC Charlotte before getting home again at around 10:45 p.m.
Adkins said that when he returned home, he took a prescribed sleeping aid, along with a glass of wine, to try to get to sleep quickly because he had to get up early the next morning for a beach trip.
Adkins said he was in his garage when the woman came to his home. But he said that while he was able to talk with the woman and observe her injuries, the sleep aid had left him with diminished capacity.
McDonnell asked whether Adkins believed he no longer had obligations as a police officer to reported the incident because he had consumed the sleep aid and wine.
“I’m telling you I couldn’t have acted in the capacity of a police officer that evening,” Adkins replied.