Reidsville Police Sgt. Fired After Search Warrant Problem

Reidsville Police Officer Fired For "Reckless Disregard For The Truth"

REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- A Triad police officer has been fired after a judge said he had a "reckless disregard for the truth."

Sgt. Lynwood Hampshire worked at the Reidsville Police Department but was officially terminated July 14th, according to a statement from the Department.

RPD says Hampshire violated Department policy/general order: Operational Duties and Responsibiliities, which states:

"Members shall establish and maintain sufficient competency to effectively perform their duties and carry ou their responsibilities of their position.  They shall perform their duties in such a manner as to effectively and efficiently carry out the functions and objectives of the Department."

This all started back in March during a stolen lawnmower investigation when then Sgt. Hampshire issued a search warrant to search William White's property in Guilford County.  White was an officer with the Greensboro Police Department.  He was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property and obtaining property by false pretense.  White was fired from GPD.

Now, court documents say there was a problem with that warrant process.

Documents say White originally went to the Reidsville Police station to "talk about the lawn mower he stole."

As it turns out, that's just a small piece of a much bigger conversation. 

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After the judge granted the search warrant, White's lawyer filed court records with this full transcript of that interview in the police station:

The investigator said: "Has Sergeant Hampshire explained to you why we're here today?"

The suspect replied : "He told me (pause) he told me a lawn mower I stole ... was stolen... first he told me I stole it .. it was stolen."

The documents indicate he was recapping what the officer told him, not giving a confession.

A judge determined "the statement in the warrant was so totally taken out of context that it was intentionally misleading and demonstrates a reckless disregard for the truth."

The warrant ultimately led to a search of White's home.  In that search, firearms were confiscated from the property.  That led to additional federal firearms charges.

Those charges have since been dropped with the judge's determination.

White's attorney is Locke Clifford in Greensboro.

"It's horrible," he tells WFMY News 2's Ben Briscoe over the phone. "Awful. Terrible. I'd like to think it's just an innocent mistake, but this shouldn't happen to anyone ever."

Former Sgt. Hampshire was a member of the Reidsville Police force for 17 years, starting there in December 2004.

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