Fired deputy wants his job back

Michael Hall in court

A grievance hearing took place on behalf of Michael Hall at the Darlington County Courthouse, Thursday morning.

Hall told the grievance committee he was fired from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office on accusations he misused computers the night of the June 12 primary, just hours after Sheriff Wayne Byrd won his bid for re-election.

Hall's attorney was present, but wasn't allowed to speak. Only Hall could state his case.

"I was fired. I was terminated. He's saying that we were misusing office computers. Well, if this is the case let's be fair, let's be honest. Let's go to his office and clean out half of the people out there because the biggest majority of them get on the computers , play games. I've seen the Sheriff himself on the computer on facebook, but you're gonna fire me saying I misused office computers, clarify that tell me why," said Hall.`

He filed a lawsuit on July 20 against the Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Wayne Byrd on grounds of wrongful termination, civil conspiracy and defamation.

Sheriff Byrd was not present at the hearing, but sent Chief Deputy Jerry Thompson and Darlington County Attorney Jim Cox to represent the Sheriff's Office.

Thompson gave a brief statement.

"The services of Michael Hall are no longer needed at the Darlington County Sheriff's Office," said Thompson.

Hall seemed to get a little agitated during the hearing. He wanted to know why Sheriff Byrd didn't attend at the hearing.

"Do I not have a right for the Sheriff to be here? He's the one that can hire and fire me so I would expect that he would be the one that would be here and nothing against Chief Thompson nothing there, I'm just saying," Hall said.

The committee chairperson asked Hall to proceed with his case.

Hall added Byrd was concerned during the campaign that emails indicating he was having an affair with a sheriff's office employee might become public and hurt his chances for re-election. The lawsuit states Byrd devised a plan to accuse Hall of using the department computers to write false emails about the affair in order to hurt Byrd's chances for re-election.

"That's the reason he fired me. He terminated me thinking, thinking I had something to do with this email getting out that I had nothing to do with and to help cover up whatever he's doing. I feel I was unjustly terminated for reasons that had nothing to do with me. And I was not even given the professional courtesy that I deserve."

The hearing was expected to last a little longer than two hours, but ended after seven minutes.

The grievance committee says it was one of the shortest meetings they've conducted, in a long time.

The committee will make a recommendation based on the testimony and present the findings to the Darlington County Sheriff's Office within 20 days.

The committee says Byrd will have the final say as to if Hall will get his job back.

The Darlington County Sheriff's Office and the Darlington County Attorney have yet to respond to any of the allegations in Hall's lawsuit.