Burlington, NC-- The U.S. Justice Department has sued Alamance County, its sheriff's office and Sheriff Terry Johnson, saying employees fear retaliation if they talk with federal investigators looking into allegations of discriminatory policing and discriminatory searches and seizures.
A news release issued Thursday says the department is seeking a judicial declaration that its attorneys can interview particular sheriff's department employees outside the presence of the lawyer for the sheriff's office. It says that's necessary because numerous current and former sheriff's office employees are scared to talk.
Alamance County Manager Craig Honeycutt tells WFMY News 2 that Sheriff Terry Johnson received a call around 4 p.m. Thursday saying they were being served by the Justice Department. The Sheriff's Department and the County had not yet received the paperwork.
Honeycutt said he would not comment on the lawsuit until he had the opportunity to read over the paperwork.
The Justice Department says it sued after all other measures failed. It says it's worked since July 2010 to get the sheriff's office to comply voluntarily.
Associated Press / WFMY News 2