Lynch also alleged race a factor in '02 termination in Chesapeake

By Lawrence Smith | Mar 22, 2012

CHARLESTON – Records show a decade ago Eric Lynch while employed as a then a police officer in an Upper Kanawha Valley town alleged his termination was racially motivated.

On June 6, 2002, Lynch named the town of Chesapeake, Mayor Damon Bradshaw, former Police Chief, Paris Workman, and then-Police Chief Eugene Ranson in a four-count wrongful termination. In his complaint, he stated that on Jan. 17, 2002, eight months after was hired, he received letter from Bradshaw saying he was suspended from CPD effective immediately.

Bradshaw's letter said the suspension was due to "various acts of misconduct," but failed to specify what they were. A week later, Bradshaw gave Lynch the opportunity to resign to avoid being fired.

A week after that, Lynch received a letter from Bradshaw saying he was fired. In his suit, Lynch says he was never given notice he had the opportunity to contest the allegations at a pre-disciplinary hearing.

Also, in his suit, Lynch, without providing specifics alleges "White police officers ...committed acts of misconduct similar in severity to those allegedly committed by [Lynch], but received no reprimand or disciplinary action." Additionally, he maintained "several serious acts of misconduct" committed by Ranson "were either ignored or received no reprimand."

Furthermore, Lynch said Ranson "made statements to third parties accusing [him] of committing criminal acts." Specifically, Lynch said Ranson accused him of setting fire to a shed, taking bribes and theft.

According to court records, Judge Charles E. King, Jr. dismissed the case on Aug. 16, 2004, when the sides agreed to a settlement. Attempts to find out the details of the settlement were unsuccessful as neither Lynch's attorney Rick Holroyd nor the town's attorney Erik Engle returned repeated telephone calls.

Also, Bradshaw, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for county assessor, failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request by press time.

Currently, Lynch as two pending civil actions in Kanawha Circuit Court. Similar to his suit against Chesapeake, Lynch alleges he was forced to resign as a deputy sheriff in Mason County in March 2010 due to "racial prejudice."

Then-Sheriff David Anthony II suspended Lynch pending the outcome of an investigation he improperly spent over $4,500 on fuel on his county issued gas card. Despite his resignation two days later, Lynch was indicted six months later on fraud-related charges.

In December 2010, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misuse of a credit card, and was fined $2,500. The conviction resulted in the revocation of his law enforcement certification which he has appealed to circuit court.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 02-C-1535

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