Crime & Courts

Fired Mecklenburg jail officer will seek his job back after assault charge dismissed

The Wichita Eagle

Prosecutors on Wednesday dismissed an assault on a female charge against a Mecklenburg County jail officer who was fired when the charge was filed in May.

Phillip DeVore will seek his job back, “because he has been vindicated,” his lawyer, Norman Butler, told the Observer.

According to a dismissal form filed in court by prosecutors, the state’s evidence would have depended solely on the victim’s testimony. A judge, however, previously failed to find enough evidence to issue the domestic violence protective order the victim sought against DeVore, prosecutors said in the form.

“The burden of proof in criminal court is higher than the burden required for the protective order,” prosecutors wrote on the form. “There is a video recording of the event leading up to the assault, but not of the assault itself.

“Without additional evidence or corroboration, the state will not be able to meet that burden and would not be successful at trial,” according to the dismissal form.

The victim sought charges on May 23 for assaults she said happened on April 27 and May 19, prosecutors said in the form. “She also sought a civil Domestic Violence Protection Order based on the same facts as the 4/27 and 5/19 alleged assaults.”

In a news release after DeVore was charged, Sheriff Gary McFadden said: “We are deeply disappointed in the conduct of one of our staff members. As a public safety organization, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office requires all employees to demonstrate professional and ethical conduct both on and off duty.”

Asked whether DeVore could now get his job back, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Tony Rivens released a statement that in part said the office “will not release specific information about hiring and firing of an employee, which is a personnel matter and is not public record.”

DeVore joined the sheriff’s office in June 2017, according to the sheriff’s office release issued after the charge was filed.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.