Retired CMPD officers sue over money they didn't get back from pledge fund

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers who tried to plan ahead are now suing over retirement money they have not received yet.

They chipped in $5 every week to a pledge fund, thinking they would get it back when they retired, but now some of them claim they are waiting to see that money, years after retirement.

Their lawsuit states the fund never registered as a legal entity and they are asking a judge to order that they get their money.

Officials said there is now a restraining order that freezes the fund.

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Channel 9’s Mark Becker has covered CMPD for decades and knows a lot of the officers who recently retired.

Retired Officer Keith Way told Becker he signed on to put $5 of his paycheck each week into a police pledge fund, a voluntary contribution that would pay out once he retired.

In more than 25 years on the force, Way did his part. He worked to bring peace to one of Charlotte's toughest neighborhoods and eventually became a detective in the department's domestic violence unit.

The officer retired more than two years ago, and he thought his pledge fund payout of about $11,000 would follow, but that wasn't the case.

“No one’s telling us what the true issue is,” said Way.

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There are about 1,100 officers and civilians paying into the pledge fund.

Becker learned that one of the problems is that more officers have been retiring than expected and the pledge fund may have run out of money.

The fund is managed by a private board, not CMPD or the city of Charlotte, which makes it more complicated.

“We can’t find out if there will even be any more disbursements. No one’s telling us anything," said Way.

He said he’s tired of waiting and hopes to get his money one day.

“To not pay officers who have put their blood, sweat and tears and defended this city, defended their lives is one of the biggest slaps you can ever give a person,” he said.

In an email, the spokesman for the pledge fund, Deputy Chief Johnny Jennings, told members that fund officials are consulting with attorneys and hope to have something for pledge fund members in the next 10 days.