APD officer demoted in wake of sexual harassment case

Personnel records released by the city of Ashevile reveal that police Sgt. Eric Lauffer, the target of a sexual harassment suit by former Officer Cherie Byrd, was demoted in June to a police officer’s rank. In defenses filed last week, the city admitted that Lauffer sent lewd text messages to Byrd, along with ones she regarded as racially offensive, though it denies any wrongdoing.

A 23-year APD veteran, Lauffer was the department’s officer of the year in 2008. He was also Byrd’s supervisor in the drug suppression unit. Byrd, an officer since 2002, alleges that Byrd sent her harassing text messages, such as “I must licky you” and “you have just been phone fucked,” as well as — after the 2008 presidential election — a message that “due to recent events: grape soda, red kool-aid, fried chicken, malt liquor, menthol cigarettes and gold teeth will be tax exempt.”

The records show that on June 4, Lauffer was demoted from a Sergeant to Police Officer Senior and had his salary reduced by $5,896 year to $53,068. Byrd, meanwhile, formally left the department on April 22 after several months on administrative leave.

While the city (and Lauffer’s personal defense) admit he sent her the text messages, they deny any wrongdoing, and deny Byrd’s allegations that they took no action after she brought the complaints forward or that female officers were treated differently in the APD.

— David Forbes, senior reporter


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9 thoughts on “APD officer demoted in wake of sexual harassment case

  1. Dionysis

    He engages in blatant sexual harassment, embarrasses the city and the police force and is documented exhibiting written racist sentiments (as well as demonstrating his own stupidity), and is still on the police force? Stunning.

  2. shadmarsh

    Yeah, I am kind of seeing a disconnect here. He admits he sent those messages, but says there was no “wrong doing?” In what reality does that make sense?

  3. pff

    you gotta admit the gold teeth joke was funny, if not tasteless.

    Wasn’t it from a Chris Rock Sketch?

  4. cwaster

    Amazing. Demoted? How about “fired.” This man does not protect and serve in my opinion.

  5. bikeman

    I wonder how many citations he has written, or arrest he has made due to “knowledge” of a wrongdoing?
    His Asheville pay needs to be reduced to zero, and he needs to be terminated.

  6. Carrie

    Disgusting. Once again, stellar job APD!! He and the Lt. who did nothing once this was brought to his attention, should both be fired immediately.

    We’re supposed to trust these people?

  7. Christopher Dunham

    Demoted…?????APD this just shows how much you care about our community as a whole!Now you see the reason a lot of people are afraid of the LAW because of one no matter what the situation is…they will stick up for one another!!How could anyone even think twice about letting this creep stay with their force??That just goes to show how these P.I.G.S. are,and they wonder how they got that title!!!!hmmmm…THEIR ACTIONS…………

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