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December 6, 2018

Warrenton policeman faces charge in bar incident

Carl M. Ferguson, who started as a policeman in 1995, will resign from the Warrenton department at year’s end, according to Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher.
The Warrenton police officer who broke a woman’s nose at a local bar in September will face an assault charge, Fauquier Commonwealth’s Attorney James P. Fisher announced Thursday.

“Based upon information compiled during a Virginia State Police investigation,” Mr. Fisher said he has “authorized assault and battery charges against Warrenton town police officer Carl M. Ferguson.”

The incident — involving six off-duty Warrenton police officers — took place Wednesday night, Sept. 19, at Fat Tuesday’s in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center. The officers reportedly started a retirement celebration at a bar in Gainesville and later came to Warrenton.

The department placed Officer Ferguson on “desk duty,” when state police started their investigation two weeks later.

“We have been in contact with Ferguson and his attorney as well as the victim’s lawyer,” Mr. Fisher said in a press release Friday. “After close consultation with the victim in this matter, we have agreed to permit her to accept civil satisfaction pursuant to Virginia’s accord and satisfaction statute (Virginia Code 19.2-151).

“The (21-year-old) victim was more interested in receiving compensation for medical bills for her broken nose and broken mobile phone, which was damaged during the incident, than obtaining a conviction in the case, which is what this particular law allows,” the prosecutor added.

Officer Ferguson will resign from the police department, effective Dec. 31, according to Mr. Fisher.

The prosecutor said he will document “the findings and conclusions of this investigation as well as reasons why the Commonwealth would not permit Ferguson to testify as a witness in any court of the jurisdiction due to credibility concerns based not only upon the incident, but also upon Ferguson’s personnel file from his previous employment with the Fairfax County Police Department.”

Mr. Ferguson joined the Warrenton department as a patrol officer in May 2016. He previously worked 13-1/2 years in the Fairfax County Police Department — the last six years as a detective. Before that, he served 7-1/2 years as a Prince William County patrol officer.

More than two weeks passed before Mr. Fisher learned of the incident. He wrote a letter to the town council, raising questions about the way it got handled. The lack of communication angered council members and may have contributed to their firing of Town Manager Brannon Godfrey in October.

Mr. Ferguson in 2017 received a Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce Valor Award for saving a life.

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Ben Cohen · December 13, 2018 at 8:16 pm
Six officers started drinking in Gainesville and went to Fat Tuesdays to continue drinking. What are the chances these gentlemen were impaired by the time they drove home?
J.R. Jeffrey · December 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm
This is an embarrassing blemish for Warrenton PD. Unfortunately the relatively low wages town officers make does not attract quality officers. The good ones tend to land in neighboring counties, Prince William, Fairfax etc., where salaries are substantially higher. I only hope this is a good wake up call for Warrenton PD and town officials
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