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Wife of former Iredell deputy speaks out after domestic assault charges dismissed

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

STATESVILLE — The wife of a former Iredell County detective who was charged with assaulting her two months ago is speaking out about the accusations after the charges were dismissed.

The Statesville Police Department charged Michael Dummett, 48, with domestic assault in March after someone called 911 about a couple fighting. The couple were arguing outside their Simonton Road apartment in Statesville, the caller said. Dummett was off duty at the time.

A police report said Jennifer Dummett was injured. Caldwell County-based prosecutor Andrew Jennings, who was brought in to handle the case, told the Statesville Record and Landmark that the charges were difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to Jennings, when Statesville police officers arrived, Jennifer Dummett told them her husband had pushed her. Jennings said it was unclear whether she had been pushed or if she lost her balance because she was drunk.

Jennings told the Statesville paper that he felt certain that Michael Dummett did not intend to hurt his wife.

The Statesville paper reported that a fight ensued and Dummett put his hand over his wife’s mouth to quiet her, causing her nose to bleed slightly.

Jennings said Jennifer Dummett wanted to reconcile their marriage instead of pursuing the charge.

Jennifer Dummett told the Post that her husband did put his hand over her mouth, but “I never had a nose bleed. I was the one outside being loud. He was just trying to get me into the house safely.”

She said she had no part in her husband being arrested.

“I never said he assaulted me in any way,” she said.

She said news accounts of her being pushed down are false.

“He never did anything to me in any way,” Jennifer Dummett said.

She said her husband’s arrest was orchestrated by Statesville Police Department leaders.

Statesville Police Chief Joseph Barone said he could not comment on the case or the charges against Dummett. But he did say, “Neither myself nor my senior staff influenced patrol’s decision to press charges that early morning. My patrol staff acted in the best interest of the victim and considered North Carolina general statues when dealing with Mr. Dummett.”

Jennifer Dummett said her husband had six months before being eligible for retirement.

He was charged on a Sunday, and by Monday morning he was fired by Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell. Dummett was hired by the Sheriff’s Office on March 19, 2012, and had been a narcotics detective, Campbell told the Post in March.

Campbell said in March that the situation fell short of adhering to the highest standards set forth for Iredell deputies.

Statesville attorney Martin Gottholm, who spoke on behalf of Michael Dummett, said body camera footage provided by Statesville police corroborated his client’s account of what happened.

“It just didn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense,” Gottholm said.

He said Michael Dummett had been working an off-duty job at a local airport. Jennifer Dummett had been out drinking with friends, and the couple argued about her alcohol use. Gottholm said Michael Dummett, who does not drink, placed his hand over his wife’s mouth to quiet her when she started yelling.

Gottholm said at no point did Michael Dummett assault his wife. When officers arrived, she had a small amount of blood on her face, but investigators aren’t sure how that happened.

“We’ve maintained Michael’s innocence from the beginning,” the attorney said.

Gottholm has filed paperwork to get the charges expunged from Dummett’s record. He said the incident has changed Dummett’s life and he is just looking forward to putting the ordeal behind him.

“I’ve known Mike for a while. He’s one of the sharpest guys I know. He’s a decorated veteran,” Gottholm said. “This was the right outcome.”

Dummett was chief of the Raeford Police Department beginning in 2008. In 2010, he was hired as chief of the Stallings Police Department.

He resigned from the Stallings department in March 2012 after he was placed on administrative leave a month earlier following complaints that he created a hostile work environment.

Before heading the Raeford Police Department, Dummett worked for about 16 years at the Salisbury Police Department.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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