CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston City Council decided in a wide-margin vote to not have a separate investigation take place involving inappropriate behavior by Chief of Police Tyke Hunt involving a woman with whom he had a brief relationship with.
A resolution was brought forth to council members Monday evening for Mayor Amy Goodwin to seek an investigation to be conducted by an outside independent agency.
The vote was 21-5 to reject the resolution.
Hunt admitted to and apologized for recently an instance last year in March where he invited a woman into his office after-hours. Information regarding the encounter was made public during an episode of the “Scoop Squad” podcast which was released in June 2023.
Mayor Goodwin suspended Hunt for three days without pay in June 2022. Hunt called his decision “a lapse in personal judgement.”
The suspension was handed down following an investigation by the city attorney, Kevin Baker, who was in attendance for the council meeting.
“The investigation was done pursuant to our HR policies,” Baker told council members Monday. “I believe it was handled appropriately by the Human Resources Department.
The Mayor is the only person who can remove or discipline the Chief of Police, according to Baker. When asked if a certain agency should’ve been involved in the investigation, Baker said it’s not ideal for the Professional Standards Division to be involved.
“I don’t believe that it’s ever appropriate for the Professional Standards Division to investigate the Chief of Police.”
The Professional Standards Division operates under the authority of the Office of the Chief of Police.
City council member Shannon Snodgrass was one of the five wanting for another investigation to be had. She said not enough was done in the investigation.
“I hope somebody with another agency will step in and take control of this situation,” Snodgrass said to other council members “This is ridiculous and not right to have separate standards.”
Council member Pam Burka believed a more severe punishment should’ve been handed down because of Hunt’s status.
“People in positions of power are held to a higher standard and if that’s not done, the people that they are leaders over, they are going to fall down into that same category and nobody is going to be held accountable for anything,” Burka said.
Bruce King, another council member who shot down the resolution, called it “ridiculous,” and found no reason for it to be brought forth.
“It’s questioning the integrity of the entire administration and what Kevin Baker did to investigate it,” King said.
“Who’s going to investigate this,” King then asked. “The relationship was consensual and there’s no allegation of a crime or harassment claims.”