Former Johnston County Police Chief Files Lawsuit Against Town

KENLY – Josh Gibson, the former chief of police in Kenly, has filed a civil lawsuit against the Town of Kenly. Gibson alleges he was never paid for overtime work.

In court filings, Gibson claims in January 2022, the police department, which normally operates with seven officers, was down to four patrol officers. Due to the staffing shortage it “created an emergency situation” which he said in the court filings “threatened human life and safety, serious damage to property, and presented a serious disruption to the operation of law enforcement activities.”

Mr. Gibson concluded, according to the lawsuit, “…he had no recourse other than to assign himself duties performed by patrol officers.”

From January 6, 2022 to July 7, 2022, Gibson logged 526 hours of overtime, both as police chief and patrol officer duties, until the staffing shortage was resolved.

Gibson alleges the Town never compensated him for the overtime hours, and under the Fair Labor Standards Act he is entitled to compensation.

The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $20,000 for lost wages, attorney’s fees, and other reasonable costs associated with the civil action.

The complaint was filed January 10, 2024 in Johnston County Superior Court by his attorney Philip Collins with the Bailey & Dixon law firm in Raleigh. We have reached out to Mr. Collins for a comment.

The Town of Kenly is represented by Hartzog Law Group in Raleigh. In an email, attorney Katie Hartzog said, “The Town paid Chief Gibson everything he was legally entitled to and intends to vigorously defend the suit.”

In July 2022, Chief Gibson and his four full-time officers suddenly resigned. In a social media post at the time, Gibson claimed newly hired town manager Justine Jones “…created an environment I do not feel we can perform our duties and services to the community.”

On August 30, 2022, following a two hour closed door meeting, the Kenly Town Council voted 3-to-2 to terminate Justine Jones, effective September 2, 2022.

9 COMMENTS

    • In an email, attorney Katie Hartzog said, “The Town paid Chief Gibson everything he was legally entitled to and intends to vigorously defend the suit.”

    • In an email, attorney Katie Hartzog said, “The Town paid Chief Gibson everything he was legally entitled to and intends to vigorously defend the suit.”

  1. In the military (UCMJ), his abrupt departure from Kenly was Dereliction of Duty, et. al: In law enforcement we call it: Gross Misconduct in office and Dereliction of Duty. He walked away from the citizens he SWORE AN OATH to serve and protect the people of Kenly. EVERY Police and sheriff’s office in the United States is shorthanded and yet, they function. They don’t whine about their conditions, go on FOX National news and tell the world how he’ll take his department and abandon the people! I’ve worked law enforcement in 3 states and in the military and never seen anything like him! Police everywhere are serving daily and answering calls, being injured and sometimes dying to serve their citizens and took their oath to serve seriously. The background of Gibson shows he’s ONLY ever worked in Kenly, as such he should’ve had an even greater bond and should’ve felt a greater responsibility to the citizens than those of us who served in cities. His acts were disgraceful, and he and those other officers should’ve been charged with dereliction of duty. The town should not owe him anything. They have a fine, experienced chief who is actually doing more with less.

  2. With him having been Chief he should have been a salary worker and not a per hour worker like the patrolmen. So all that over time well sorry to say but he doesn’t get paid for it. And for the people saying what he did was dereliction of duty, well it wasn’t. It was a job you can quit a job with no warning. It would only be dereliction of duty if he was still employed and just not doing anything.

Leave a Reply