State Capitol Police former acting chief, sergeant dismissed from jobs

cjarvis@newsobserver.comFebruary 20, 2013 

Antonio Asion

— An investigation into members of the State Capitol Police who were working security jobs at a Raleigh nightclub has led to the dismissal of the acting chief and a sergeant.

Former Deputy Chief Antonio Asion, who had been running the police force since Oct. 1, and Sgt. Benjamin Franklin, an eight-year veteran of the force, were dismissed on Friday, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

Officials at the department declined to disclose the reasons for the officers’ firings, at least while the appeals process is under way. The men have 15 days in which to appeal.

Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan announced the officers’ suspensions on Feb. 3, saying only that it was prompted by an investigation into off-duty work.

“I have serious concerns about certain practices involving secondary employment,” Shanahan said at the time. “We will conduct a thorough investigation and take action as deemed appropriate.”

Thursday’s dismissals were the result of that investigation, a spokeswoman said.

The off-duty work that was the focus of the investigation was at Club B.E.D. at 4030 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, the department confirmed.

Raleigh police have been called to the address14 times since January 2012, for reports of gunshots, assault with a firearm, robbery and lesser offenses. The club has been open for about a year, according to promotional events posted online. Police have taken about 100 reports at that location – where clubs have operated under different names – since August 2001.

Club B.E.D. hosted promotional dance and beauty pageants. Videos online depict scantily clad women and a décor with swank aspirations.

A business license for a suite at that address was taken out under the name Brazilian Ecuadorian Dancing last July. The person who took out the license could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Asion, who lives in Holly Springs, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Asion was a 20-year veteran of the Delaware State Police who moved to the Triangle in 2004 to become public safety director for El Pueblo, an advocacy group for Hispanics.

He was hired as deputy chief of the State Capitol Police in August 2012, and became acting chief after Chief W. Scott Hunter died in September. His salary was $67,839 a year.

Franklin has been a state employee since 1994; his annual salary was $45,502.

The State Capitol Police provides security at government buildings in downtown Raleigh and at other state-owned properties.

State Highway Patrol Maj. William Grey was named acting chief to take over Asion’s duties when Shanahan first announced the investigation.

Staff writers Ron Gallagher, Joe Neff and news researcher David Raynor contributed.

Jarvis: 919-829-4576

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