Cary cop wasn’t sure about charge against Frazier

Oct. 01, 2013 @ 08:28 PM

The Cary Police Department officer who initiated the arrest warrant that ultimately triggered the firing of Henry Frazier III from his head coaching duties at N.C. Central University said he was iffy about the charge he was leveling.

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

In August, Turner-Frazier contacted the Cary Police Department after reading handwritten notes from Frazier asking her to reimburse him for a $205 parking ticket.

Either Turner-Frazier or her daughter generated the ticket in Washington, D.C., while driving a vehicle registered to Frazier, according to his attorney, Ralph Frasier Jr.

Turner-Frazier testified that she received the notes on Aug. 11 and the next day spoke with Cary police officer B.T. Ready, who said he consulted with a Cary police detective to figure out exactly what crime Frazier might have committed.

“I was unsure of the charges at that point and time, and I wanted more clarification,” Ready said from the witness stand.

NCCU athletics director Ingrid Wicker-McCree fired Frazier after his Aug. 19 arrest. She said the issues between him and his ex-wife had become too much of a distraction for the university.

In 2012, Wicker-McCree suspended Frazier after he was arrested for assaulting Turner-Frazier, who was his wife at the time. The two divorced earlier this year.

Frazier eventually pleaded guilty to the assault charge and was reinstated as NCCU’s coach.

As for the most recent dust-up, there wasn’t anything egregious about Frazier communicating with his ex-wife through notes regarding a financial matter, Wake County assistant district attorney Stacy Newton said. But domestic violence protective orders are in place for a reason, and Frazier, at least technically, crossed the line, Newton said.

Frasier agreed that protective orders are issued to protect victims of abuse from further harm, but there was nothing at all violent about his client asking his ex-wife, in writing, to pay him back.

Nowhere on Ready’s police report is there any indication that Frazier put his hands on Turner-Frazier or verbally abused her.

The notes Frazier wrote explained that he would deduct $205 from Turner-Frazier’s alimony if she didn’t settle up with him.

Turner-Frazier said she discovered the notes while unpacking the overnight bag of the couple’s 11-year-old son. She said the son, who had returned from visiting with Frazier, brought the notes to her attention.

Frasier said there was no proof that Frazier even wrote the letters, partly because the handwriting differs on each piece of paper.

But even if Frazier wrote those notes, Frasier argued, who’s to say that the correspondence wasn’t intended for another lawyer who was representing the fired coach?

The judge didn’t buy that, declaring that it was clear that Frazier intended for Turner-Frazier to receive the notes.

Turner-Frazier said the protective order allowed her and Frazier to communicate about their children through a specified email account.

The judge said Frazier could have communicated with Turner-Frazier about the parking ticket through their lawyers.

Knox said the reason that she found Frazier not guilty was because the arrest warrant was inaccurately written, indicating that Frazier violated a June 28, 2012 protective order that was put in place by Wake County Judge Michael Denning. Yet 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 essence, Frazier was both arrested and exonerated on technicalities.

Frazier was fired with no financial severance, and NCCU owes him both back pay and his former job as head coach of the Eagles, Frasier said.

The university stands by its decision to cut ties with Frazier, NCCU spokeswoman Ayana Hernandez said.

That particular case isn’t closed, Frasier insisted.