VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A former Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office sergeant is suing Sheriff Ken Stolle alleging that he was fired for his political opinions.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, former Sgt. William Fowler stated that he was shocked to learn of his termination from the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office late last year.
Fowler claims that Sheriff Stolle did not articulate any basis or reason not to re-appoint him beyond the statement saying Fowler’s “services were simply no longer required.”
In the lawsuit, Fowler claims that Sheriff Stolle also repeatedly stated that there were no issues with Fowler’s performance and did not cite any deficiencies in his work. Prior to his termination, Fowler was placed on administrative leave. He had been with the department for nearly 15 years.
If reappointed by Sheriff Stolen, Fowler would have served his next four-year term starting earlier this year.
The real reason, Fowler claims, that he was terminated was because Sheriff Stolle, a Republican, disagreed with the political stances of Fowler and his wife, Virginia Beach Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, who were both Democrats. Fowler claims Stolle wanted to retaliate against the Fowlers for certain political positions taken by Del. Convirs-Fowler.
After he was fired, Del. Convirs-Fowler went on social media and accused Sheriff Stolle of firing her husband after she shared concerns with him about a deputy allegedly attending the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“A concerned citizen shared a video with me of a @VBSO Deputy at the Capitol on January 6. I have been a target to some of these extremists, so I let our Sheriff @kenstolle know hoping he would help. Did Stolle do anything? Yes! He fired my husband this morning. #detoxVB,” Convirs-Fowler tweeted.
She updated the social media post a few hours with: “Correction: He put my husband on “Administrative Leave” until 1/1/22 then he will not be reinstated.”
Stolle originally responded to Convirs-Fowler’s tweet denying that anyone from the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office participated in the insurrection or any other criminal conduct at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Stolle also tweeted that his team has spoken with the FBI and were assured that no one on his staff broke the law.
In a follow-up statement, Stolle said that deputy was at the “Stop the Steal” rally outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6, but he didn’t enter the Capitol and was cleared of wrongdoing after cooperating with the FBI’s investigation. Stolle said he wouldn’t name the deputy.
He also said the issue “has nothing to do with her husband’s appointment.”
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.