On Wednesday, March 13, former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes forcefully and categorically denied claims that he and/or his staff inappropriately destroyed documents or removed computers from the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department’s offices or conducted other offenses that Sheriff Danny Rogers claimed were done as part of an effort to sabotage his transition.
Barnes was reacting to statements Rogers made the night before on the evening of Tuesday, March 12 to the Summerfield Town Council – a council that Barnes’ wife Dena serves on.
On Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Department announced that there was an investigation being conducted on the matter.
At the Summerfield Town Council meeting, Rogers stated: “We came in and didn’t have any way to start other than start from ground zero. What do I mean – ground zero? Papers were destroyed. Computers were taken out. So we had nothing; we had no information, nowhere to start.”
On Wednesday, March 13, Rogers, in a written statement from the Sheriff’s Department, reiterated what he had said the night before. The release from the department stated that Rogers stands by the statements he made and also that the department does not want to comment on the situation at this time because there is an ongoing investigation into the matter.
That statement did not say whether the investigation was being conducted by the Sheriff’s Department or if some outside agency was called in.
The statement reads, “With respect to Sheriff Rogers’ statements at the Summerfield Town Council meeting regarding records last evening, the Sheriff stands behind what he has said—that upon assuming the Office of Sheriff in early December 2018, he and some senior staff members discovered that certain paper and electronic records pertaining to the business of the Sheriff’s Office had been either removed or destroyed and that this made the transition into the Office more difficult. Further investigation into those matters is ongoing and pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 132-1.4(a) and 153A-98(a) and (c), it would be inappropriate to release additional information at this time.”
Barnes said that Rogers’ statement regarding the destruction of documents and removal of computers was “a lie” and he said it was one of several that Rogers told that night.
“The only things I took out of there were personal items,” Barnes said.
He said that no departmental records or documents or computers were removed. He also said that, if Rogers had actually bothered to check before making his false claims, he would know that. The former sheriff also said that he wasn’t going to let the accusation stand and said Roger’s was clearly trying now to go after his reputation.
“In my office, the couch and the computer belong to the county and that was left,” Barnes said. “There was an antique table that had been loaned to me by a friend of mine and that was returned. That was the extent of what was taken out of that office.”
He added, “What computers is he talking about? Tell us which ones.”
Barnes said that, as for documents, nothing inappropriate was removed. He said that he did have some personal papers in his office that listed things such as his financial records and similar items that he didn’t leave.
He also said there were Top Secret federal government documents that he was not legally allowed to turn over to Rogers or any of his staff.
“I have Top Secret clearance,” Barnes said. “He does not have a Top Secret clearance – nor could he get one given his past.”
Barnes said that, after coming into office, Rogers instructed staff to go through some computers and told them to find anything they could incriminating on Barnes. Barnes said there was nothing to hide.
He said Rogers was now reaching a new low.
“If someone lies about something that they can check out,” Barnes said, “and continues to lie about it, then either they are a liar or a fool and, in his case, he is both – and you can quote me on that.”
Barnes said that once an investigation was conducted and Roger’s malicious claims were shown to be baseless, Rogers can expect to hear back from him.
“I am sick and tired of this,” Barnes said, “and I am not going to let it go. He picked the wrong person this time.”