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Charges against police chief dismissed

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Independence Police Chief James Wagoner was charged with threatening a Grayson County deputy.

By Staff Reports

BLAND — A charge of using profane language over a public airway was dismissed against Independence Police Chief James Wagoner on Wednesday following a short hearing in Bland County General District Court.
Wagoner was charged March 15 with allegedly communicating a threat and using profanity to Investigator Doug Carner of the Grayson County Sheriff’s Department.
Carner testified that on March 14, he was traveling on Interstate 77 in Bland County when he received a cell phone call from Wagoner.
He said Wagoner was furious over an arrest that had occurred the day before in Independence at Grayson County High School, conducted by the sheriff’s office and the Galax Police Department.
Wagoner said he wasn’t told of the arrest in his jurisdiction and had to find out from another source.
Carner said Wagoner used profane language and threatened him.
The deputy said he met the next day with Sheriff Richard Vaughan and later obtained the warrant in Bland County, since the alleged incident occurred in that county while he was off-duty and on personal business.
Independence attorney Brandon Boyles, who represented Wagoner, questioned Carner about the incident.
It was Boyles’ contention that Wagoner used profane language to express frustration. He made a motion to strike the evidence, which was granted by Chief Judge Gino Williams.
In his ruling, Williams noted that the magistrate had omitted any mention of a threat being made when he wrote the warrant.