Florence Detective Who Was Fired/Rehired Facing Retaliation, According to Memos
Despite their best efforts to get rid of Walt "Hondo" Hunter, Florence Police Chief Dan Hughes and Lieutenant Terry Tryon were forced to accept him back as a member of the Florence Police Department.
Former Florence Police Detectives Walt "Hondo" Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson. Hunter is now the town code enforcement officer.
The pair orchestrated Hunter's termination in December over alleged town policy violations. But Hunter appealed and a hearing officer in October found there was no merit to his termination. (Ironically, Hunter's partner -- and the town's only black detective -- Jarris Varnrobinson, was fired on the same day over nearly identical allegations of policy violations, but his termination was not overturned.)
Reinstatement to the Florence Police Department hasn't exactly been a victory for the wrongfully terminated detective. Instead, he's being written up for asking questions, "talking over" his boss and, gasp! interrupting a chair delivery.
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Records obtained by New Times show that police officials are diligently nitpicking. For instance, his boss made a note that Hunter's was disrespectful because he was "delayed" in greeting Police Chief Dan Hughes when he entered a room.
Since his return, the former detective was demoted twice -- from detective to patrol officer, then, stripped of his gun and badge, and demoted to a code enforcement officer. Although the hearing officer concluded there was no valid reason for the town to fire him, officials only restored half of his backpay and hit him with a pay cut.
Also, Sergeant William Tatlock, Hunter's supervisor, started a log of his interactions with Hunter that include his underling's indiscretions.
We're not making these up -- and the absurdity of Tatlock's memo couldn't be a more obvious attempt to build a case against Hunter.