Gibson’s appeal to be filed today

Published 11:05 am Friday, April 22, 2016

Chesapeake police chief challenging removal from office

CHESAPEAKE — An attorney for former Chesapeake police chief Dennis Gibson said an appeal challenging the village’s ousting of his client will be filed today.

The Chesapeake Village Council voted 4-1, with one abstaining, to remove Gibson from office at an April 12 administrative hearing.

Mayor Tommy Templeton asked Gibson to resign on March 29, which he refused. Templeton said at the hearing that Gibson was charged with dishonesty in office, malfeasance in office, insubordination and neglect of duty.

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Attorney Warren Morford of Ironton, who is representing Gibson, said they will appeal on the grounds that the charges were based on heresay and did not meet the burden of proof, and that the proper process was not followed.

The appeal will be filed with Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

“The village would then be given an opportunity to respond,” Morford said.

If Gibson’s appeal is successful at his court date, he would be reinstated as chief, Morford said.

If they lose in common pleas court, the next option would be to take a look to determine whether to appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeals, Morford said.

Morford took issue with Templeton’s testimony that said Gibson had not been issuing enough tickets, one of the expectations outlined by the mayor in a Jan. 23 meeting with Gibson.

Morford pointed out that Templeton admitted at the hearing that he had told officer Aaron Christian to “back off” regarding the issuing of tickets to council member Paul Hart for allegedly running stop signs. Morford said the directive clashed with the mayor’s expectations of Gibson.

The village also said Gibson had failed to file a report in the overdose death of Joshua Blake. Morford said the report was filed with the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office, but was misplaced. He pointed out that it was faxed to the Lawrence County Children’s Services Division on June 18, 2015.

Morford said the decision was made to remove Gibson before the administrative hearing.

“The writing was on the wall,” Morford said of the environment on council going into the hearing. “I told him to expect it.”

Attempts to contact Hart were unsuccessful. Templeton said he declined to comment while litigation is pending.