Former Woodfin police chief arrested on federal firearms charge ***UPDATED***

***UPDATE: On Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert filed a motion to dismiss the charge against Bradley, noting a 2007 U.S. Court of Appeals decision that would render the current charge against Pete Bradley unsupportable in court. The filing notes that Bradley was convicted of assault on a female, a misdemeanor, a charge under North Carolina law that does not have, as a required element, the presence of a domestic relationship. The U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals recently ruled that that element—the presence of a domestic relationship—is required for a finding of misdemeanor domestic violence. Shappert said the government would refile its charge if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses the appeals court. ruling. Click here to go to Xpress Files and read the government’s motion.

***UPDATE: Pete Bradley was released from the Buncombe County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon. A jail employee confirmed that Bradley was no longer being held there, and court records show that Bradley was released on $25,000 unsecured bond. The documents show that Bradley has hired attorney James H. Mills to represent him, and that his release included conditions, such as not having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18. Bradley is scheduled to be arraigned in federal court at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10. Click here to go to the Xpress Files and read the court order setting the conditions of Bradley’s release.

Pete Bradley, the former Woodfin police chief convicted of assaulting his wife in 2005, had his first appearance before a federal magistrate Tuesday morning on charges that, as a convicted felon, he illegally possessed a firearm.

Bradley was found in possession of a .45-caliber Sig Sauer handgun, according to court records. Bradley was arrested Friday on the charge and was held in the Buncombe County jail over the weekend. According to the court documents, the federal indictment on the charge was sealed by U.S. Magistrate Dennis Howell on Aug. 5. An arrest warrant issued Aug. 6 was also sealed by the court. The court opened the documents following Bradley’s court appearance.

Bradley was convicted on the domestic violence charge in March 2007, more than a year after his wife, Patsy Bradley, was found dead at the couple’s Biltmore Forest home in September 2005. Patsy Bradley’s death was ruled a suicide, according to a medical examiner’s report.

The Woodfin town board fired Bradley in 2002 following media reports detailing his sex life. Bradley sued the town, maintaining that the information leak about his personal life and his firing were retaliation for his blowing the whistle on corruption within the state Division of Motor Vehicles, where he worked before being hired as Woodfin’s top law-enforcement officer. Bradley made his allegations to the State Bureau of Investigation, which prompted an investigation that eventually covered 13 Western North Carolina counties and led to a federal grand-jury probe. During the investigation, Gov. Mike Easley merged the DMV with the State Highway Patrol.

Bradley won his case against Woodfin in April 2005 and showed up at a town board meeting with a briefcase and a boom box. He asked Mayor Jerry VeHaun for permission to play a song “that speaks to the freedom of speech.” The song — Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” — filled the room.

Go to the Xpress Files to see Bradley’s arrest warrant and indictment.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor



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