Judge's Ruling Favors Former Coach, But NCCU Stands by Firing

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Copyright 2013 The Durham Herald Co.
All Rights Reserved

The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)
October 1, 2013 Tuesday
576 words
Fired NCCU coach 'not guilty' in note incident
JOHN McCANN [email protected]; 919-419-6601

RALEIGH - Fired N.C. Central football coach Henry Frazier III's play call designed to return him to his former job with back pay has gained ground.

Wake County judge Jennifer Knox Monday declared Frazier not guilty of violating a domestic violence protective order in place to govern the relationship between him and his ex-wife, Lanier Turner-Frazier.

Turner-Frazier in August took issue with Frazier over a handwritten communication about a financial matter. She discussed that written contact with Cary Police Department officer B.T. Ready, who generated the warrant that resulted in Frazier's Aug. 19 arrest.

After the arrest, NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree terminated Frazier, explaining that the issues between him and his ex-wife had become too much of a distraction for the university.

"It's unfortunate that North Carolina Central chose to violate their contractual obligations with Mr. Frazier," attorney Ralph Frasier said minutes after successfully representing the fired coach. "But now that we've been vindicated, North Carolina Central should be on notice that we expect to either be paid or hired."

NCCU officials stand by their decision to fire Frazier without any financial severance from the job that was paying him

see incident/page A2

at least $225,000 a year, NCCU spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said.

NCCU chancellor Debra Saunders-White rejected Frazier's Aug. 29 appeal of his firing, said Linda Kenney Baden, a New York-based attorney also representing Frazier.

The arrest warrant that cost Frazier his job actually wound up giving him a little running room.

The warrant said Frazier violated a June 28, 2012, protective order that was put in place by Wake County judge Michael Denning. But Knox, not Denning, was the one who signed off on that order. Denning authorized a renewed protective order that went into effect in July 2013.

In other words, the arrest warrant wasn't written right, Knox said.

Knox said that if the warrant had indicated that Frazier either violated the 2013 protective order issued by Denning or ran afoul of the original 2012 order that she authorized, then she would have found him guilty.

"But the warrant does not say that. It's incorrect, and so I'm going to find you not guilty," Knox told Frazier. "Good luck, sir."

Frazier's arrest this past August occurred because he sent handwritten notes to his ex-wife explaining that he'd paid $205 for a parking ticket that either she or her daughter generated in Washington, D.C., while driving a vehicle registered to him, Frasier said. Frazier wrote that he'd take $205 out of Turner-Frazier's alimony if he didn't get reimbursed.

Prior to the trial, Frasier argued that his client's correspondence was non-threatening, but Turner-Frazier's testimony drew attention to the tone of Frazier's communication when Wake County assistant district attorney Stacy Newton told her to read the correspondence.

"If I do not receive my hundred dollars on the next exchange, I will deduct it from September 2013's alimony, exclamation point," Turner-Frazier testified, reading her ex-husband's words.

Frasier underscored the trial's end result.

"We're certainly glad that Mr. Frazier has been exonerated in criminal court. I thought that this was a total abuse of the system," Frasier said. "He intends now to concentrate on restoring his good name, raising his minor children and appealing to the Board of NCCU to set right the wrong that has been foisted upon him by them."

October 2, 2013

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