Rocky Mount looks to dismiss lawsuit filed by former police officer

ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – The town of Rocky Mount is looking to have a lawsuit filed by a former town police officer dismissed.

Justin Smith, the former officer, filed the lawsuit in October in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

According to the suit, Smith claims he was the victim of retaliation, which resulted in him leaving the force.

However, James Daniel, the attorney for the town, argues that Smith failed to provide specific allegations to support his claim of retaliation.

The lawsuit explains that Smith joined the department in 2017 under Chief Ken Criner.

While working for the department, Smith, “learned that Criner had made terribly inappropriate and offensive comments concerning female employees and other women and in particular one of Criner’s administrative assistants, who at the time was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, all of which over time created an extremely hostile work environment,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit continues and explains that Smith helped two women who worked for the department file complaints with the town and charges of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The town formally sought the dismissal of the lawsuit on Nov. 30, 2021


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Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.