Former city cop fired in 2004, records show

The High Point Enterprise, N.C.
·2 min read

Feb. 23—HIGH POINT — A Thomasville woman arrested last week in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was fired by the High Point Police Department shortly after being disciplined for violating department policies on behavior and conduct toward the public, according to personnel file information.

Laura L. Steele, now 52, held the rank of master police officer III when she was suspended for two days in July 2004, according to information released Monday by the High Point Police Department.

Steele then was fired in August 2004 "for conduct toward superior personnel, absence from duty, and violation of communications policy," the information said.

No details about what Steele did were released.

Although most information in public employees' personnel files is not public information, North Carolina law specifies information that should be released, including information about an individual's pay, changes in position and termination.

Steele is one of nine people who authorities say are associated with a group called the Oath Keepers, which includes many former military and law enforcement members, who have been arrested and charged in connection with the riot and storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The indictments allege that the Oath Keepers organized ahead of Jan. 6 and planned storming the Capitol, including coming equipped with tactical gear, weapons and communications equipment to coordinate the movements.

She is married to retired High Point Police Department Assistant Chief Kenneth Steele, who retired effective Jan. 1 but worked only a few days into December, a police department spokesman has said. Kenneth Steele has not been charged in the Jan. 6 riot and is not mentioned in the indictment describing Laura Steele's activities.

Until her recent arrest, Laura Steele's only prominent negative press attention happened during two pepper spray incidents with students arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in February 2001, when she was working as a school resource officer. One of the incidents involved a 16-year-old student at Southwest Guilford High School and the other an 11-year-old student at Southwest Guilford Middle School. A police investigation cleared Steele in both incidents.