NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A Newport News police officer took the stand Wednesday, as part of a federal lawsuit against the city he works for.
Officer Cory M. Hall is suing the city, claiming Newport News cost him money and job opportunities after he was fired in 2007. The police department terminated him following misconduct charges of excessive force, improper procedure, and untruthfulness. He had been with the department since 1999.
Hall said in court Wednesday that he had maintained his innocence and called for a grievance panel to review the allegations. His attorney said all of the charges were dropped except for the improper procedure charge, which was reduced. Hall said the police department later reinstated the officer, but he was sent to work in the records department.
Former Newport News Police Chief James Fox sent Hall a letter, saying the officer could no longer make arrests, according to Hall's attorneys. Hall said the city should have changed his file to reflect he had been cleared of charges and that the stigma surrounding the allegations tarnished his reputation.
Hall talked to 10 On Your Side outside the courthouse Wednesday and said the experience was devastating.
"The fact that I'm wearing a police uniform and in the event that something would occur here in the community, a violent crime or something of that nature, I'm not permitted to stop that person from being harmed," Hall said.
Attorneys for Newport News argued information about Hall's disciplinary background would have come up as Hall sought other employment and that Hall would have had to disclose it, regardless of what was in his file. Defense attorney Stanley Barr Jr. said Hall was promoted to Master Police Officer after he was reinstated.
"We take the position that the file is complete and that no one has visited the Department of Internal Affairs or Professional Standards to view the records. Simple as that," Barr Jr. said.
Attorneys completed cross examining Hall on Wednesday. The trial resumes in U.S. District Court in Newport News Thursday morning.
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