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Virginia Beach sheriff sued for wrongful termination

William Fowler claims Sheriff Ken Stolle did not re-appoint him as political retaliation over Fowler's wife, Democratic Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle is being sued by one of his former sergeants, claiming he was wrongly fired.

William Fowler filed the federal suit on Dec. 6. It alleges Sheriff Stolle decided not to renew Fowler's job in 2022 because of the sergeant's political views and the views of his wife, Democratic Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler.

Virginia Beach sheriff is an elected position. Stolle, a Republican, is currently serving his fourth term.

In the lawsuit, Fowler alleges he faced greater scrutiny after his wife was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017 and that shortly after Convirs-Fowler was reelected in November of 2021, Stolle told Fowler the sergeant would not be re-appointed to another four-year term in 2022.

Sgt. Fowler was with the sheriff's office for 15 years. The sheriff has called the claims frivolous.

"I have not been served with this lawsuit and so I cannot comment on any specific allegations contained therein; however, I can assure you that any claim by William Fowler is completely frivolous," Sheriff Stolle said in a statement to 13News Now. "All constitutional appointees understand that they serve at the pleasure of the constitutional officer who appoints them and, as constitutional officers, sheriffs in Virginia have absolute authority to appoint their staff. I lost confidence in William Fowler’s ability to serve the community, lead as a supervisor, and uphold my values and expectations as Sheriff. For those reasons, I did not appoint him to my staff in 2022."

Fowler has asked that his lawsuit be heard in a trial by jury.

Read the federal lawsuit below:

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