RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The family of fallen Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd is calling on Sheriff Gerald Baker to answer some of their questions after they say the family was lied to, and other deputies were retaliated against.
“Why did you fail to maintain integrity by lying to our family?” Walter Penney, Byrd’s uncle, questioned on Friday.
The family says their frustrations with the Sheriff really started around the time of Byrd’s funeral, when other agencies offered to cover shifts so any Wake County deputy could attend.
“Why did you deny outside agency assistance that was offered to allow any members of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Ned’s brothers and sisters in the blue, to attend the funeral and say goodbye?” Penney asked, directed at the sheriff.
Byrd’s sister Mignon Perkins says it escalated from there, when she asked as fellow K-9 deputy to present the family with the American flag rather than having Sheriff Baker present it.
Now, they believe because of that, he’s retaliating against them by demoting K-9 officers in the force.
Sheriff Baker released a statement on Friday, when rumors of the demotions started circulating, saying in part, “Reassignments are a necessary part of organizational and career development and broadens the experiences of deputies as they advance in their law enforcement careers.”
Byrd’s family, though, says they’re left with questions.
“How does providing no rationale for abrupt and inappropriately timed assignment changes aid in transparency and accountability for the public?” Penney questioned.
Perkins says the Sheriff went so far as to request Byrd’s uniform be returned to the office before he was cremated, something she claims was just an attempt to dishonor the family.
“What good would that have done to cut a uniform off of an officer that was being laid to rest?” she said.
The family says they can’t move forward when they’re worrying about the men and women who Byrd loved: his fellow deputies.
“I’m still grieving, but it’s getting harder for me to do it when I have to worry about if one of them will get hurt,” Perkins said.
CBS 17 did reach out to the Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, but have not yet heard back. In Sheriff Baker’s statement from Friday, he said the family had been treated with the utmost respect throughout the entire ordeal.