CHARLESTON —- A Charleston police officer is suing the City of Charleston and Mayor Danny Jones for defamation.
Keith Peoples has been employed as a Charleston police officer for approximately 19 years, according to a complaint filed May 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
In December 2006, the defendants instigated an investigation into the duty and off-duty hours worked by Charleston police officers and Jones directed Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster "to use all means necessary to investigate, to pursue and to bring criminal charges against and convict Charleston police officers who were allegedly working and being paid at second jobs and being paid while they were on duty with the police department," according to the suit.
In January 2007, Peoples claims he was approached and questioned by Webster regarding the off-duty hours he was working and Webster concluded he was not "double dipping."
On Feb. 7, 2007, Peoples was called to a meeting with Lt. Lex Williamson and Cpt. K.D. Perdue and was presented with a chart showing hours he was on duty working as a police officer and off-duty hours he was working, according to the suit.
Peoples claims he provided Williamson and Perdue with calendar books to show he was not double dipping, but they disregarded the information.
In May 2008, Peoples was indicted by the grand jury in a two-count indictment for obtaining money by fraudulent schemes and computer fraud and was put on administrative leave from the police department, according to the suit.
On May 18, 2009, Peoples went to trial and on May 22, 2009, the jury returned a not guilty verdict, according to the suit.
Peoples claims the defendants' actions were wanton, reckless and for a malicious purpose.
Peoples is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Dwane L. Tinsley.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles King.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-924