A former Winston-Salem police officer facing child-abuse charges left his son in the care of his girlfriend, even though the Forsyth County Department of Social Services warned him against doing so, according to a memorandum from an assistant city manager that was obtained by the Winston-Salem Journal.
Winston-Salem police Cpl. David Benjamin Ingram, 36, of Trace View Drive, was fired Oct. 1. Ingram was arrested in August and charged with felony negligent child abuse, inflicting serious physical injury and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Arrest warrants alleged that his 3-year-old son suffered a fractured femur in June because Ingram left the child improperly supervised. Specifically, police allege that he left his son in the care of his girlfriend, Jaimie Leonard Binkley, 31, who is charged with felony child abuse, inflicting serious physical injury.
Binkley is also facing charges of misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile based on allegations that she bruised the boy sometime between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 of 2018. Ingram faces misdemeanor child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile charges stemming from that incident.
When Ingram was initially arrested, the Winston-Salem Police Department suspended him, pending termination. The police department launched both a criminal investigation and an internal investigation to determine if Ingram had violated any departmental policies. That internal investigation led to his termination on Oct. 1. Ingram filed a grievance, and an informal hearing was held on Oct. 15, according to a memorandum from Assistant City Attorney Evan Raleigh. City Manager Lee Garrity sent Ingram a letter on Oct. 16 informing Ingram that Garrity was upholding the decision to terminate him.
Ingram did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Friday. Binkley could not be reached for comment. Efforts to find a phone number for Binkley were not successful.
Winston-Salem police had gotten a report on alleged child abuse involving Ingram’s son on June 19. The day before, Ingram had left his son, Sebastian, in Binkley’s care. Raleigh says in the memorandum that police investigators determined that Ingram knew Binkley was facing a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection to his son and still left his son in Binkley’s care.
According to the memorandum, Ingram received a letter dated Feb. 21, 2018, from the Forsyth County Department of Social Services. The letter said that Binkley had been added to a list maintained by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services of people found responsible for the abuse or neglect of children, Raleigh wrote in his memorandum. The letter also told Ingram that Binkley should not be left in a caretaking role. The memorandum does not provide any details about the alleged abuse or neglect that prompted the letter.
Despite the letter, Ingram let Binkley act as a sole caretaker of his son. In one undated incident, Binkley left Sebastian in the care of her 10-year-old son while she left for three hours, the memorandum said. Sebastian was later found with suspicious injuries on his face and head after a reported fall.
Ingram initially told Winston-Salem police that he didn’t know anything about the letter from Forsyth County Department of Social Services. But according to the memorandum, police investigators were able to get a copy of that same letter from Ingram’s cellphone. Ingram eventually admitted that he had seen the letter but “he did not believe the language contained in the letter precluded him from placing his son in (Binkley’s) care.”
In a section entitled “Grievant’s Position,” Raleigh wrote that Ingram contended that his son broke his right femur when his leg was caught in a bed frame. Ingram also said that Binkley was not home when Sebastian was injured. He also didn’t believe that Binkley was guilty of the incident leading to the misdemeanor child- abuse charge, according to the memorandum.
Ingram said during the hearing on his grievance that he was not guilty of the criminal charges, did not violate departmental policies and should be reinstated as a police officer.
According to the memorandum, Winston-Salem police talked to qualified medical personnel who determined that Sebastian’s injuries were not accidental.
Ingram was released from custody after posting a $5,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear on Dec. 19 in Forsyth District Court. Binkley was released on a $50,000 bond and is also scheduled to appear on Dec. 19 in Forsyth District Court.