Family Wants Answers After Man On Suicide Watch Was Able To Kill Himself In Tennessee Mental Hospital

September 11, 2012

TENNESSEE – Pete Skelton remembers his son as a gifted mechanic, a talented bass player and “one of the sweetest guys you ever knew.”

“He liked to build bicycles,” Skelton, 74, of Nashville, told The Huffington Post. “He would make them for other kids.”

But around Thanksgiving 2011 when the whole family was together, his 43-year-old son’s health suddenly turned. Skelton said he was shocked. “Before I left [their home one evening], Cody and I were just sitting at the edge of the bed — talking like normal.” said Skelton. “When I came back, that’s when I learned from his mother, of him going into that mental condition.”

On Nov. 28, 2011, Cody Skelton’s family members were stunned by their first look at his dark side. That morning, Skelton attempted to gouge his own eye out.

Paramedics brought him to the Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville, where doctors said he had “acute psychosis” and “dangerous impulses to injure himself,” according to court documents. At about 2 p.m., doctors executed an involuntary transfer and moved Cody to the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.

That night, Cody killed himself.

“Cody Skelton was found by staff face down in the toilet, a shower curtain wrapped around his neck and around the commode,” a legal complaint against Guardian Health Care Providers says. “A blanket was wrapped around the doorknob of the bathroom. Cody Skelton had hung himself with the shower curtain and drowned himself.”

Pete Skelton filed two lawsuits, one against the state of Tennessee and another against Guardian Health Care Providers, a private organization hired by the state mental health facility which Skelton said failed to properly treat his son.

“Cody Skelton was showing signs of suicide and needed care and constant observation to ensure that he did not harm himself,” the complaint against Guardian says. “Unfortunately, [he] did not get the care, observation and attention he desperately needed.”

Hospital policy is to check a patient in Skelton’s condition every 15 minutes. According to both complaints, medical records show that Skelton was last checked at 9:30 p.m. on the day he was brought in, “approximately four hours before he was found dead.”

Surveillance footage of the room reviewed by the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health shows that the 15-minute policy was not followed, according to the complaints.

Cody’s father was horrified. “I couldn’t understand because he was supposed to be under suicide watch,” he said. “Someone was supposed to be there every 15 minutes, right there with him.”

Michael A. Rabkin, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said the state was unable to comment at this time. Calls from The Huffington Post to Guardian Health Care Providers were not returned.

“Cody Skelton was found to have no pulse,” according to the Guardian complaint. “CPR was initiated and Emergency Medical Services called. However, their efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. It was too late to save his life.”

Hospital employees took Cody to Summit Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:35 a.m.

Following the incident, Guardian fired at least two employees who worked the night of Cory’s suicide, according to documents obtained by Skelton’s attorney.

Today, the 1965 Mustang Cody planned to paint still sits, coated with gray primer, in his father’s driveway. Pete Skelton knows he will never have his son back, nor will they ever play music together like they used to. “It killed me, it was just everybody crying,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Everyday I get tears for him.”

Skelton seeks $2,500,000 in damages from Guardian and another $300,000 from the state for his son’s death, according to the complaints.

“I’d like to see them punished,” he said. “And the only way you can punish them is with money.

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Signs With Pictures Of Dead Roane County Tennessee Deputy Bill Jone’s Bullet Riddled Body Warn Next Tresspasser Of What They’ve Got Coming – Brothers Never Convicted In Bogus Prosecution After Protecting Themselves From Cop Coming To Kill Them

September 10, 2012

KINGSTON, TENNESSEE — Roane County brothers who killed a sheriff’s deputy and his friend in a shootout have posted photos of the men’s bullet-riddled bodies on a large homemade sign on their property.

Rocky Joe Houston told The Knoxville News Sentinel that he and his brother Leon want the world to remember what happened the last time unwelcome visitors showed up at the family farm.

The photos are posted next to the road. Authorities called the posting despicable but said it was not a crime.

“It goes without saying that any public display on their own property of these photos in whatever manner by the Houstons is despicable and certainly runs counter to the Houstons’ claims of innocence,” District Attorney General Russell Johnson said in a news release.

Roane County Deputy Bill Jones and ride-along Mike Brown died May 11, 2006, after they went to serve an outstanding arrest warrant for Rocky Houston.

The brothers insisted in court the men came to kill them. Prosecutors were unable to prove who shot first and the brothers were never convicted.

The brothers obtained the crime scene photos during their trials. The large sign where the photos are posted is one of at least a half dozen signs on their property that contain various court documents and claims of government corruption and conspiracy.

The crime scene photos were posted briefly on a Kingston woman’s Facebook page, apparently after she took a picture of the signs.

Johnson said he asked Facebook to remove the photos and was initially refused, but by late Thursday they had been taken down.

Johnson said he contacted the Jones and Brown families so that they would know about the situation. The newspaper could not reach the families.

Rocky Houston said the signs won’t come down.

“We are trying to report federal crimes, and we feel like our plea has fallen on deaf ears,” he said.

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Tennessee Shreds US Constitution, Goes Their Own Way With “No Refusal” Nazi-Like Checkpoints – State Legalized Assault And Battery Upon Motorists By Police Officers

September 1, 2012

TENNESSEE – Tennessee state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police in Shelby and Tipton counties will use a new weapon provided by state lawmakers to combat driving under the influence this Labor Day weekend, officials announced Friday.

A new “no refusal” law allows law enforcement officers to obtain search warrants and have blood samples drawn if drivers suspected of being under the influence refuse blood alcohol tests.

“This was the only area of Tennessee law where we let the criminals control the evidence,” said Dist. Atty. Mike Dunavant, whose 25th Judicial District includes Tipton County.

State Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers during the July Fourth weekend targeted five counties, including Davidson in Middle Tennessee, during a similar enforcement campaign.

“We did not have a single traffic fatality in those counties,” Gibbons said.

In Shelby County, state troopers, Memphis police and Shelby County sheriff’s deputies will be using the new law, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Amy Weirich.

Judicial commissioners will be tapped to approve warrants around the clock and medical technicians will be available to draw blood samples in a process that could take a couple of hours while DUI suspects are held.

Dunavant said two judges will be on call to approve warrants in Tipton County. There, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and police in Atoka, Covington, Mason and Munford will be enforcing the “no refusal” law.

Shelby and Tipton are two of 16 counties targeted by the Labor Day weekend enforcement campaign that will begin at 6 p.m. Friday through the holiday on Monday.

Kendell Poole, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety office, said 30 percent of traffic fatalities are alcohol related. Tennessee had 939 fatalities in 2011, a record low, but still too many.

Gibbons said DUI-related crashes are up in Tennessee almost 9 percent. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is focusing on reducing fatalities and driving under the influence, with a 40 percent increase in DUI arrests in 2011 and a 29 percent jump so far this year.

Alcohol-related crashes in Shelby County have jumped about 15 percent this year, to 516 from 448 for the same period last year, according to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

In Tipton County, alcohol-related crashes this year have soared to 26 from 16 for the same period last year.

Traffic safety research has found that educating the public is an important element in reducing fatal crashes and that publicizing enforcement campaigns helps.

To announce the Labor Day weekend “no refusal” campaign, Gibbons, Dunavant, Weirich, Poole, Tipton County Sheriff J.T “Pancho” Chumley and other officials gathered on an auditorium stage in the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Memphis.

Weirich said the “no refusal” law allows prosecutors to get the best evidence for prosecuting and convicting drunken drivers. Facing television cameras set up behind rows of empty seats in the auditorium, she offered a message to the public: “If your plans over the weekend involve drinking and driving, you better think twice about it.”

The other 14 counties are Chester, Weakley, Roane, Campbell, McMinn, Meigs, Robertson, Rutherford Jefferson, Sullivan, Cumberland, Warren, Bedford and Lincoln

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Shelby County Tennessee Deputy Sheriff Jail Officer Carlos Atkins Arrested After Pulling Gun And Choking His Wife, Who Found Him In His Daughter’s Bed With Another Woman

August 31, 2012

CORDOVA, TENNESSEE – An argument turned physical inside a Cordova home on Swansea Cove Tuesday.

According to a police affidavit, it all started when Carlos Atkins’ wife found him and another woman in their daughter’s bed.

The affidavit says husband and wife fighting and Atkins pulled a gun on her.

It also says she tried, and failed, to take it away.

Testimony in the document says Atkins then put his hands around her neck and began to choke her until she passed out.

When she woke, the deputy jailer was gone.

The wife called the police and filed a report.

Investigators say the bruises on her neck lead them to believe she was strangled.

A warrant was issued for Atkins arrest.

However, conveniently enough, Atkins was already at the jail working as a Shelby County Sheriff Deputy Jailer.

He was arrested there and charged with Aggravated Assault.

The sheriff’s office says Atkins is currently relieved of duty while they investigate the allegations.

No one answered the door at Atkins listed address. He is currently out jail on a $5,000 bond.

He is due in court again on September 19th.

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Nashville Tennessee Police Officer Albert Ridgeway Arrested, Decommissioned, Charged With Domestic Assault – Second Officer Arrested And Decommissioned Over Weekend

August 31, 2012

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – A second Metro Police officer was decommissioned after being arrested on domestic assault charges over the weekend.

Officials said Patrol Officer Albert Ridgeway was decommissioned following an investigation into a domestic assault that took place on Sunday. According to documents, Ridgeway pushed his girlfriend down several times during an argument at their home in Mt. Juliet. She called police and filed charges against Ridgeway.

Ridgeway was a six-year veteran officer. He had been assigned to the Central Precinct.

Police said that Ridgeway was actually the second Metro Officer to be arrested on Sunday. An off-duty probationary officer, Robert Shouse, was charged with aggravated criminal trespassing and public intoxication.

“The alleged actions and continued employment of these two individuals are being closely reviewed by this police department,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “The reported actions giving rise to their arrests are not at all representative of our more than 1,800 very dedicated and committed employees.”

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Memphis Tennessee Police Officer Lakendus Cole Arrested, Jailed, Suspended, And Charged With Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, And Vandalism

August 30, 2012

MEMPHIS, TENNESSSEE – A Memphis police officer has been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and vandalism after being arrested during a scuffle on Beale Street.

Memphis police said in a statement that 30-year-old Lakendus Cole, a seven-year veteran officer currently assigned to the Organized Crime Unit, has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of an investigation. Also charged with disorderly conduct was 25-year-old Darnell Tennial.

Officers said the incident arose when Cole and Tennial became uncooperative as officers attempted to clear the street at 4 a.m. CDT Sunday.

Police said the two men became combative and resisted, causing a brief struggle during which a squad car was damaged.

Both men remained in the Shelby County Jail on Sunday. Jail records did not list an attorney for either.

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$500 Million Security System Is No Match For 82 Year Old Nun And Two Other Senior Citizens With Bolt Cutters – US Government’s “Most Stringent Security In The World” Penetrated At Nuclear Weapons Lab Called “Fort Knox Of Uranium”

August 25, 2012

OAK RIDGE, TENNESSEE – In an inconceivable breach, an 82-year-old nun along with two other seniors somehow managed to evade what the U.S. government calls the “most stringent security in the world” to break into a nuclear weapons laboratory often referred to as the “Fort Knox of Uranium.”

So much for the feds protecting nuclear labs from a terrorist attack with topnotch—and costly—security systems; this staggering story comes from the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It’s operated by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which is responsible for the management and security of the country’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs.

This is serious stuff, which is why Uncle Sam allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to secure facilities like the Y-12 National Security Complex. It has a sophisticated $500 million system that includes high-tech cameras and sensors, according to a news wire dedicated to covering homeland security issues. There is also a substantial staff of guards and the property is surrounded by huge security towers and special fences.

After all, the Y-12 National Security Complex is the country’s main storage facility for bomb-grade uranium and it makes uranium parts for every warhead in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Old weapons are also dismantled at the compound, which claims to “maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” On its website the Y-12 also assures that it reduces the “global threat posed by nuclear proliferation and terrorism” and that it provides “safe and effective nuclear propulsion systems for the U.S. Navy.”

So how did an 82-year-old Catholic nun, a renowned antinuclear activist long on the government’s radar, and her two buddies—one 63 and the other 57—penetrate the facility and go undetected by security for two hours? With flashlights and bolt cutters, according to various news reports. The trio of protesters also splashed blood around the nuclear complex and hung banners outside its walls.

The story was so unbelievable that one the nation’s largest newspapers wrote a profile on the Roman Catholic nun, Sister Megan Rice who has been charged with federal trespassing and destruction of property. She’s been arrested before for acts of civil disobedience, the story says, but this was the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex. This is a huge embarrassment for President Obama, the article points out, reminding that he led a campaign to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials as a way to fight atomic terrorism.

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BROKE: 16 States Now Rationing Prescription Drugs For Medicaid Patients

July 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients, according to Kaiser Health News.

Seven of those states, according to Kaiser Health News, have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

Medicaid is a federal program that is carried out in partnership with state governments. It forms an important element of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–AKA Obamcare–a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug, and HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.

Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.

Speaking on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.”

“Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand,” Galewitz said.

“It only hurts a limited number of patients, ‘cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It’s another place to cut. It doesn’t hurt everybody, but it could hurt some,” he added.

Galewitz said the move also puts doctors and patients in a “difficult position.”

“Some doctors I talked to would work with patients with asthma and diabetes, and sometimes it’s tricky to get the right drugs and the right dosage to figure out how to control some of this disease, and just when they get it right, now the state is telling them that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to get all this coverage. You may have to switch to a generic or find another way,’” he said.

Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.

“Some people say it’s a matter of you know states are throwing things up against the wall to see what might work, so states have tried, they’ve also tried formularies where they’ll pick certain brand name drugs over other drugs. So states try a whole lot of different things. They’re trying different ways of paying providers to try to maybe slow the costs down,” Galewitz said.

“So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

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Savage Black Beast Paid Three Slices Of Pizza In Memphis Tennessee Domino’s Pizza Delivery Driver Robbery

July 27, 2012

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Tennessee man who this week confessed his role in the robbery of a Domino’s delivery man told cops that he served as a lookout man in return for three slices of pizza, according to court records.

During questioning Monday by Memphis Police Department officers, Tony Hamer, 19, admitted that he was “present during the planning” of the July 10 robbery, which was carried out by a cohort.

Domino’s worker Jose Reyes told police that he was delivering a pizza around 9 PM when he was approached by two men, one of whom threatened to shoot Reyes if he did not “give him the money and pizza.” Reyes said he handed over $20, his HTC cell phone, and the pizza.

Hamer, seen in the adjacent mug shot, told investigators that he “participated as a look out and provided protection for the other male during the robbery.” Cops noted, “Hamer received three slices of Pizza for his participation in this robbery.”

In addition to the July 10 crime, Hamer also admitted to robbing a second pizza delivery person. Along with stealing a $54 pizza order, Hamer and an associate took $35 from victim Erica Northcutt (who was also relieved of her ID).

A complaint affidavit does not indicate what Hamer’s cut was from the July 20 robbery.

Hamer is being held in the Shelby County jail in lieu of $35,000 bond on two felony robbery counts. He is next due in court on August 1.

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Covington Tennessee Police Officer Jack Hall Out On Bond And Still On The Job After Arrest For Buying Firearm From A Convicted Felon

July 25, 2012

COVINGTON, TENNESSEE – A Covington police officer is at the center of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe for allegedly conducting police business while he was supposed to be on medical leave.

Covington police officer Jack Hall is out of jail on bond after being arrested last week and charged with buying a gun from a convicted felon.

“Jack is a local guy,” said Covington Police Chief Tim Glass. “His family has roots in the city. His grandparents and all have lived here all their lives and we tend to hire local people.”

Glass wasn’t the chief when Hall was hired, but says the sergeant worked at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office before coming to Covington and was highly recommended by his previous employer.

Hall worked for the Shelby County Sheriff’s office for 6 years, but was fired for personal conduct issues.

“Jack had a few issues but we worked around them, nothing serious,” Glass said.

Hall used his position as a police officer to try and figure out whether the gun he purchased was stolen, according to court records.

Glass says Hall called Tipton County Central Dispatch to get information about the gun.

According to tapes of Hall’s conversation with dispatchers, he claimed he was buying the gun from his father, but didn’t trust that the gun wasn’t stolen, Glass said.

Hall allegedly had dispatchers check on the gun on July 13. That’s the same day Glass was made aware of another problem.

“He contacted some of my officers here. There was a threat made that was brought to my attention during a supervisor’s meeting,” said Glass.

Glass also said Jack Hall was facing some disciplinary action prior to being put on medical leave in June.

Covington police continue to work with the TBI, and officials say there will likely be more arrests, including the man who gave the gun to Hall.

Hall’s next day in court is August 24.

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Hero To Zero: Memphis Tennessee Police Officer David Royal Arrested And Suspended After Drunken Wreck

July 24, 2012

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Memphis Police officer was charged with DUI Sunday morning after a traffic accident, officials said Monday.

David Royal, 43, was arrested about 9:45 a.m. after being involved in a crash at Ramill and Yale in the Raleigh area. Royal was also charged with public intoxication, reckless driving, and refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test, authorities said.

According to police, Royal’s 2004 Saab ran into the rear of a 2008 Nissan Maxima, causing minor injuries to the driver of that car. Police investigating the crash suspected Royal was drunk after smelling his breath and seeing him unsteady on his feet.

Royal, who has been with MPD since 1995, is assigned to the Organized Crime Unit. He has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Royal received an MPD lifesaving medal in 2002 for saving fellow officer William Poteet, who was choking on food.

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Pedophile Former LaFollette Tennessee Police Officer Michael Shane Baker Placed On Tennesse 10 Most Wanted List After Sex With A 13 Year Old Georgia Girl

July 21, 2012

TENNESSEE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has put the former LaFollette Police officer wanted for internet sex crimes on its Top 10 Most Wanted List.

Michael Shane Baker is described as a bald, white male with blue eyes. He is 5’11” and weighs approximately 220 lbs. He is a former police officer and may be armed. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Authorities are looking for a former LaFollette Police officer who is accused of having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old girl from Georgia.

A Campbell County grand jury returned a 44 count indictment against Michael Baker, 39, on July 11. He was charged with 22 counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and 22 counts of solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to a press release from the LaFollette Police Department, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation contacted them several months ago about the allegations against Baker. LPD notified the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Division to assist in the investigation. The investigatin determined that the crimes were committed between August 2011 and December 2011 in Campbell County

Baker is believed to be living in the New Tazewell area of Claiborne County, but so far, authorities have not been able to locate him to arrest him.

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Veteran Milan Tennessee Police Officer Adam Scott Martin Charged With Sexual Battery Of A Relative

July 21, 2012

MILAN, TENNESSEE – A Milan police officer accused of molesting a 19-year-old woman appeared in court Thursday morning in Gibson County.

The next court dates were set for Adam Scott Martin, 39, in Gibson County General Sessions Court in Trenton. A special prosecutor from Crockett County is representing the state in the case. An investigator with the Milan Police Department, Martin was arrested July 3 on one count of sexual battery by an authority figure.

An order of protection has been filed to to prevent Martin from contacting the alleged victim.

Judge Mark Agee set two court dates for Martin. On Aug. 2, the court will arrange for orders of protection prior to the case moving forward. On Aug. 14, Martin will return to court for his preliminary hearing. The separate court dates were made on request of Martin’s attorney C. Timothy Crocker.

According to court documents, Martin was not acting in his official capacity as a police officer and the incident for which he is charged did not occur while he was on duty. Martin is charged as an authority figure because he is related to the victim in some way, said John Mehr, special agent in charge of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in Jackson.

According to state law, sexual battery by an authority figure is defined as unlawful sexual contact involving a defendant who is in a position of trust or has supervisory or disciplinary power, or parental or custodial authority over the victim. The charge is a Class C felony.

Martin was arrested at a residence in Carroll County and was released from the Gibson County Jail the same day on a $15,000 bond.

Milan Police Chief Tim Wright said Martin has been suspended with pay pending further investigation. Martin has worked for the Milan Police Department since March 2002.

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Covington Tennessee Police Officer Jack Hall Arrested, Jailed Without Bond, And Charged After Buying Gun From A Known Felon

July 19, 2012

COVINGTON, TENNESSEE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) says Covington police officer Jack Hall bought a gun from a known felon. Officers arrested him at his home in Covington.

He is behind bars in the Tipton County jail without bond.

“I think a police officer should know better than to do that,” said Corey Walker, a resident of Tipton County. “Me being a felon myself I would not try to sell one to a police officer. I’m sure they would know better than to buy one from me.”

TBI investigators said Hall called central dispatch for a stolen check on a firearm. He did so while he was on medical leave from the Tipton County Police department.

Investigators say Hall tricked the dispatcher into checking to see if the gun he wanted to buy was ever stolen. Since Hall was not working the TBI says he should not have had access to the information about the gun.

Halls arrest warrant states he later bought the gun from a person he knew wasn’t legally allowed to own the weapon because that person is a felon.

Hall is charged with misusing official information and failing to report that the felon had a gun.

“They don’t need that kind of job,” said Tipton County resident Crystal Maxwell. “They really don’t. Why be a police officer if you’re going to turn around and do the same thing.”

The TBI says agents are in Covington investigating this case. They say there likely will be more arrests including the man who gave the gun to Officer Hall.

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Hero Tennessee Dad Sets Up Sting For Pedophile Seeking Sex With His 12 Year Old Daughter Via. Facebook – Calls Police And Punches Him In The Face

July 13, 2012

TENNESSEE – A Middle Tennessee man got a bloody nose when he tried to meet a 12-year-old girl that he contacted via Facebook.

The child’s father said his daughter started receiving messages from a man she didn’t know, so he set up his own sting operation.

When the 42-year-old Putnam County man arrived at Cane Creek Park near Cookville, the girl’s dad called police, then punched the man in the face.

The man told police he deserved to be punched, but said he just wanted to friends with the girl.

No charges are in place.

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Knott County Kentucky Police Officer Nelson Reynolds “Family Emergency” Required Unauthorized Trip In Patrol Vehicle To Tennessee Hobby Lobby – Bonus: Photographed Parked In A Handicapped Space

July 11, 2012

KNOTT COUNTY, KENTUCKY – Knott County Police Department vehicle is spotted in another state parked in a handicapped spot.

Someone snapped a picture of the county-owned Tahoe that is now posted on Facebook.

It’s causing some controversy, but Knott County officials are not making any excuses.

“We’re not condoning what he done. He was wrong, he did not have authorization to drive the vehicle, and he knows he done wrong. And it was just a poor decision,” said Greg Mullins, Director of Knott County Homeland Security.

He says it was a family emergency that caused Officer Nelson Reynolds to make the decision to drive a county vehicle to Kingsport, Tennessee.

He also says Officer Reynolds had a handicapped person in the car with him.

Mullins says county vehicles can not be taken across county lines without supervisor authorization, but Officer Reynolds did not do that.

“I think it’s a waste. A lot of the other things they have complained about, they complained about the cost of a wet dry election, and yet they are still wasting money on other stuff,” said Knott County resident Ezalee Pigman.

Mullins says Officer Reynolds did turn in a personal gas receipt from the trip, but he will still be required to pay the county back for the mileage and he will also be suspended three days without pay.

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Milan Tennessee Police Investigator Adam Scott Martin Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Sexual Attack On Teen Girl

July 7, 2012

MILAN, TENNESSEE – A Milan police officer is charged with sexual battery after he was accused of molesting a 19-year-old woman.

Milan Police Investigator Adam Scott Martin, 39, was arrested Tuesday on one count of sexual battery by an authority figure, officials with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said on Friday.

Martin is charged as an authority figure because he is related to the victim in some way, said John Mehr, special agent in charge of the TBI in Jackson. The alleged crime did not involve Martin acting in his official capacity as a police officer and did not occur while he was on duty, TBI officials said.

According to state law, sexual battery by an authority figure is defined as unlawful sexual contact involving a defendant who is in a position of trust or has supervisory or disciplinary power, or parental or custodial authority, over the victim. The charge is a Class C felony. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Pastors Target Obama And Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Ashamed Of President, Urge Blacks To Boycott President Unless Administration Withdraws Support For Gay Marriage

July 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A large coalition of African-American pastors, snubbed by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder in their demand for a meeting to discuss same-sex marriage, are calling on blacks to boycott the president and sign a petition demanding that the administration withdraw support for gay marriage.

“By embracing gay marriage, President Obama is leading the country down an immoral path,” said Rev. William Owens, president of the 1,300-member Coalition of African-American Pastors. “Some things are bigger than the next election.”

The pastors are angered with Obama’s recent endorsement of gay marriage. Obama did not, however, suggest that he would push for a federal mandate allowing same-sex marriages to take place.

Owens is the voice of a large segment of black pastors who support traditional marriage between a man and a women. “The Black church has always been the conscience of America, and today we are calling on black pastors and black Christians to withhold support from President Obama until he corrects course,” he said.

His group also started a petition to encourage Obama to change his mind. It’s called

The group also called on the African, Methodist and Episcopal Church to denounce the president actions.

That seems unlikely since the AME Church Convention, which met in Nashville last week, had first lady Michelle Obama speak. In her address, she credited the civil rights advocacy of AME churches for paving a path for a black president. “My husband is in the White House today because of them,” she said.

Still, said Owens, “In the midst of this great moral struggle, we are also asking the great AME Church to reaffirm Biblical views on marriage that is between one man and one woman. The AME Church has not taken a position on this important issue in more than twenty years and it is time to get off the sidelines.”

Their opposition to gay marriage could influence how black churches turn out the vote for Obama.

“We were once proud of President Obama, but our pride has turned to shame,” said Owens.

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Halls Tennessee Police Officer Jason Colvin Arrested After Indictment For Theft, Official Misconduct, And Other Charges – Bought Stolen Gun From Felon And Tried To Sell At A Pawnshop

June 6, 2012

HALLS, TENNESSEE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a Halls Police Department officer on Tuesday after he was indicted by the Lauderdale County Grand Jury on Monday.

Jason Colvin, 32, of Halls, Tenn. was charged in the indictments with three counts of official misconduct, one count of theft more than $500 and less than $1,000, one count of accessory after the fact, one count of facilitation of a felony and compounding.

According to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation release, the TBI was requested to open an investigation on Colvin on April 12, 2012, after the Halls Police Department received a complaint on him. The allegations against Colvin included that while he was working as an officer for the Halls Police Department, he obtained a handgun from a person known to be a convicted felon and attempted to sell a stolen handgun at a pawnshop in Halls.

Colvin was arrested and booked into the Lauderdale County Jail on Tuesday. He has been on paid leave from the department, but he has now been placed on unpaid leave.

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Madison County Tennessee Deputy Chad M. Lewis Suspended Amid Investigation

June 6, 2012

MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE – On June 6, 2012, the Jackson Police Department notified the sheriff’s department that Chad M. Lewis, age 29, was involved in an incident they are investigating.

Deputy Lewis began his employment April 16, 2005 in the corrections division and was transferred to patrol division in October 2006. He is presently assigned to the Metro-Narcotics Division.

In 2005, an internal investigation was conducted on Deputy Lewis for releasing an inmate from the J. Alexander Leech Criminal Justice Complex that was awaiting extradition to the State of Kentucky. He received a letter of reprimand.

Deputy Lewis was relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of a criminal investigation conducted by the Violent Crimes Unit of the Jackson Police Department.

More details into Jackson Police investigation involving Lewis is forthcoming.

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Case After Case Of Child Support Against Tennessee Man With Minimum Wage Job – Fathered 30 Children With 11 Women, 9 Of Which Were Born In Past Three Years – Some Mothers Receiving $1.49 A Month In Child Support

May 19, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – You have to say this much for Desmond Hatchett: He has a way with the ladies.

The 33-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident has reportedly set a Knox County record for his ability to reproduce. He has 30 children with 11 women. And nine of those children were born in the last three years, after Hatchett — who is something of a local celebrity — vowed “I’m done!” in a 2009 TV interview, saying he wouldn’t father more children.

But Hatchett is back in the news this week because he’s struggling to make ends meet on his minimum-wage job. His inability to make child-support payments on such a meager salary also means he’s back in court again and again, most recently to ask for a break on those payments.

“Yes, we’ve got several cases with Mr. Hatchett,” Melissa Gibson, an assistant supervisor with the Knox County child support clerk’s office, said with a sigh.

Hatchett’s attorney, Keith Pope, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Under the law, there’s nothing officials can do to force Hatchett to keep his pants on.

“If there’s something out there like that, I’m unaware of it,” Gibson told The Times, before adding, “It definitely needs to be.”

Gibson said Hatchett is believed to hold the Knox County record for most children. (He’d hold a similar record in most counties in the U.S., which might explain why news of his predicament was pinging around the Internet on Friday.)

Gibson said she couldn’t say whether any of his children receive public assistance. The youngest is a toddler; the oldest is 14. Asked in a TV interview whether he can “keep up with it all,” Hatchett said he knows all their names, ages and birthdates.

Also in a TV interview, Hatchett tried to explain — in a PG-rated way — how he managed to end up with so many kids: “I had four kids in the same year. Twice.”

When Hatchett is working, he is required to turn over 50% of his wages for child support — the maximum allowed under law. Child support payments are based in part on the ages and needs of the children.

Some of the mothers of Hatchett’s children get only $1.49 a month, reportedWREG in Memphis.

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Airport Security? Not Much… Nashville Tennessee Police Say Man Never Gained Access To Secured Areas Of Terminal – But He Jumped Fence And Got On A Plane

May 17, 2012

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Police arrested a man last weekend for getting into a restricted area of Nashville International Airport and getting on board an aircraft.

Ram Porat told police “I own the world,’’ when he was arrested according to arrest reports.

When police arrived just before 2 a.m. Sunday, Porat was on the aircraft and had been speaking with American Airlines maintenance personnel.

“It was something I wanted to do and an obstacle I wanted to overcome,’’ Porat told police according to an arrest report.

Porat told police he scaled the airport fence in order to get to the plane. The fence was marked as a secure area with no trespassing signs. There was damage to the fence. The airplane was at Gate C-19.

Porat is charged with unlawful entry of a secured airport area and aircraft, vandalism and criminal trespass.

Court records also show that Porat was arrested May 9 for driving under the influence and drug charges.

Porat never gained access to secured areas of the terminal building. Nashville International is investigating the security breach, according to a statement by the airport.

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Signal Mountain Tennessee Police And Hamilton County Sheriffs Department Arrest And Jail Man On Warrant For Twin Brother Who Died 2 Years Ago

May 9, 2012

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TENNESSEE – Mitch Torbett says it was his twin brother police were looking for. He spent two days in the slammer before he was finally able to convince them of their mistake.

Torbett was arrested on Signal Mountain for a federal charge. He was jailed for nearly two days before authorities realized they were mistaking him for his dead twin brother.

Torbett is working with an attorney to file a civil suit against the Signal Mountain Police Department and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

He was arrested last week for a federal crime his identical twin brother allegedly committed in Louisiana before he died two years ago.

“If they would’ve trusted me, if they would’ve given me the benefit of the doubt, if they would’ve done that, none of this would’ve happened,” Mitch Torbett says.

Torbett says it all started when applying for a construction permit with Signal Mountain.

“After running my driver’s license, said perhaps I had a federal warrant for my arrest,” Torbett says.

Mitch Torbett told police the federal warrant had to be linked to his identical twin who died two years ago.

Signal Mountain Police Chief Boyd Veal declined an interview, but says the warrant had Mitch’s name on it, so they did their part by arresting him and turning the case over to the FBI.

“I quickly realized I wasn’t being detained for fingerprints, but rather being arrested,” Torbett says.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office also says the warrant was under Mitch’s name, but the affidavit shows “Mike Torbett,” Mitch’s twin.

Under the arrestee’s name it says, “unknown– do not change.”

“I saw his name and I realized that I was in trouble, big trouble,” Torbett says.

Mitch was booked, but says he refused to sign any paperwork because it had his brother’s name on it.

“I turned into my identical twin, deceased brother,” Torbett says.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office says Mike must have given Mitch’s name when he was arrested before, saying, “that happens with twins all the time.”

When Mitch went before a judge, the FBI presented fingerprints from both brothers.

“She said, ‘your honor, we have the wrong person. He needs to be released immediately’,” Torbett says.

He was released after 36 hours behind bars. The words “wrong person” are now written on his legal documents.

“Emotionally, I can’t even put it into words,” Torbett says.

According the to affidavit, and what Mitch says the FBI told him, investigators had been on their way to extradite him to Louisiana.

Torbett’s attorney says he’s working on a civil suit for false arrest and false imprisonment, and will likely seek compensation for emotional distress.

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Stupid Shelbyville Tennessee Police Arrest And Jail Man Who Tried To Spend Real $50 Bill

May 1, 2012

SHELBYVILLE, TENNESSEE – What officers thought was a counterfeit $50 bill turned out to be an old, legitimate bill, but the truth wasn’t discovered until a man was mistakenly charged and jailed Friday.

A clerk at Quik Mart, South Cannon Boulevard, notified police after the marker used to detect counterfeit bills didn’t check as real.

“The front side of the bill was off center and it didn’t feel like a normal bill, it did look to be counterfeit,” officer Brock Horner said in his report.

Truth discovered

After Lorenzo Gaspar was jailed, Horner showed the bill to Sgt. Bill Logue, the Shelbyville Police Department’s evidence technician, who told him old legitimate bills wouldn’t “check” with a marker and suggested he have it inspected at a bank.

Horner took the bill to two banks, where it was determined as “real but very old” at one and proven real by a black light and magnifying glass at another.

A judicial commissioner had Gaspar released from jail and Horner apologized for the arrest, the report said. Gasper was told by Horner to take the bill to a bank and have it exchanged for a newer one.

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Tipton County Deputy Sheriff Jason Cochran Suspended Amid Investigation Into Sex With A Child

April 17, 2012

COVINGTON, TENNESSEE – A Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputy is suspended and under investigation after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Cochran is off the streets and on unpaid leave after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

“It’s still very much ongoing, there are still other witnesses and evidence that needs to be found and gathered,” said District Attorney General Mike Dunavant.

The sheriff’s department started an internal investigation last Monday, but Deputy Cochran has not been officially charged.

“All of the allegations regarding the contact were off duty, that is, they were not committed during the time when he was acting in his capacity as a sheriff’s deputy,” said Dunvant.

The alleged sexual contact between Deputy Cochran and the 17-year-old girl happened within the past two months.

District Attorney Mike Dunavant says if the allegations are true, Deputy Cochran will be charged with aggravated statutory rape.

If he is charged, an immediate warrant could be issued for Cochran’s arrest or the case could be presented to the Tipton County grand jury in July.

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated and is certainly not the current standard of quality employees at the Sheriff’s Office,” said Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley in a press release.

“Just as in this case, even when we have not received a complaint from a victim, we become aware of any questionable conduct by any employee we will request it to be investigated. I feel this is the only way to maintain the standards the citizens of Tipton County deserve and I demand it at the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.

No one at the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department would speak on camera about the investigation.

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Shelby County Tennessee Court May Jail Woman At Taxpayer Expense For Baptizing Her 2 Children

March 31, 2012

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE — A Shelby County mother is facing contempt-of-court charges and possible jail time for baptizing her two children without the knowledge or consent of her ex-husband.

This week the Tennessee Court of Appeals said Lauren Jarrell must face a criminal contempt hearing for violating a court order that said major decisions regarding the religious upbringing of her two children should be made jointly with her-ex-husband.

The mother and her ex-husband, Blake Jarrell, are both Christian — he’s a Methodist and she’s a Presbyterian.

Court records say the father thought the children should be baptized once they are older. He has asked that his ex-wife be found in criminal contempt for baptizing the children without his knowledge or permission.

If convicted, she could face 20 days in jail and a $100 fine.

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Veteran Hamilton County Tennessee Deputy Sheriff Thomas Fulmer Arrested After Drunken Wreck

March 6, 2012

HAMILTON COUNTY, TENNESSEE – A Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputy is suspended with pay pending his first court appearance after he was arrested on a DUI charge by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on Friday, according to booking reports.

Deputy Thomas Fulmer, 47, who has been with the department nearly 10 years, was off duty when the incident occurred.

Fulmer was driving a 2006 Ford F-250 east on Walnut Road when he was unable to stay on the road while negotiating a curve, according the report.

He veered off to the right side of the road way and into a yard before cutting back across the road way and striking a mailbox. Fulmer lost control of the vehicle and went back across the road where the truck entered a ditch, overturned and struck a street sign. The pickup stopped on north side of Walnut Road, according to the report.

Fulmer sustained minor injuries from the crash and refused treatment on scene.

If there is enough evidence presented at his first appearance, he will be placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of his trial.

If convicted, it could mean Fulmer will lose his job.

“Generally that’s not compatible with his job as a police officer. … It’s difficult. As officers we are held to a higher standard,” said Sheriff Jim Hammond.

Fulmer is scheduled to appear in court March 19 before General Sessions Court Judge Ronald Durby.

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul Detained By TSA Agents In Nashville, Tennessee – Candidate Ron Paul’s Son

January 23, 2012

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s press secretary Moira Bagley tweeted on Monday that Transportation Security Administration officials were detaining her boss in Nashville, Tenn.

“Just got a call from @senrandpaul,” Bagley tweeted at about 10 a.m. on Monday. “He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville.”

Texas Congressman and current Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul – Sen. Rand Paul’s father – placed a post on Facebook about the news as well. “My son Rand is currently being detained by the TSA at the Nashville Airport,” Ron Paul posted. “I’ll share more details as the situation unfolds.”

Ron Paul adds, via Twitter, that the TSA detained his son “for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner.”

Sen. Rand Paul’s Facebook page has a post about the incident too. “Senator Paul is being detained at the Nashville Airport by the TSA,” Sen. Rand Paul’s Facebook post reads. “We will update you as the situation develops.”

Sen. Rand Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford told The Daily Caller the Senator “was detained by the TSA after their scanner had an ‘anomaly’ on the first scan.”

“He offered to go through again,” Stafford said in an email. “The TSA said he could only have a full body pat down. He would not consent to it. He offered to go through the scanner again. The situation is ongoing.”

Sen. Rand Paul has previously referred to the TSA’s use of full body pat downs as the “universality of insult,” and he called on the agency to end the tactic.

“I think you ought to get rid of the random pat-downs,” Sen. Rand Paul said in June 2011. “The American public is unhappy with them, they’re unhappy with the invasiveness of them.”

Spokespeople for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, have not returned requests for comment.

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Bad Cops: Petition Calls For Chattanooga Tennessee Housing Authority Police Officer James Avery, Harriet White, And Pete Gillen Be Fired For Harassing Residents

December 14, 2011

CHATANOOGA, TENNESSEE – Sixty East Lake Courts residents have signed a petition calling for three Chattanooga Housing Authority police officers to be fired.

Hector Martinez and his fiancee, Beaneit Seagrove, have gathered 140 signatures requesting that officers James Avery, Harriet White and Pete Gillen be fired from the CHA police force for harassing residents.

Sixty East Lake Courts residents signed the petition, CHA officials said. Seagrove said the other 80 signatures were from visitors to the site, including their friends and family.

“We are tired of the inappropriate actions that these officers take and are coming together as a community to ensure the safety of our residence,” the petition states.

CHA officials said training will be provided to “all of the CHA police officers on communication with residents during encounters that are stressful to both the police and residents,” according to a letter dated Nov. 1 and signed by Charles T. Barnett, Nashville Program Center director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees CHA.

In his letter, Barnett wrote that, “We feel CHA is in compliance with programmatic requirements for administration of the public housing program and enforcing security for the safety of all families living on their properties.”

Martinez said he wants Avery to be fired because Avery is training other officers to treat residents the same as he does.

“If we cussed at him like he cusses at us, we would go to jail,” Martinez said.

Attempts to reach the three officers through the CHA police headquarters were unsuccessful Monday.

The petition and harassment accusations concerning Avery come about four months after CHA settled with public housing resident Crystal Ramsey after she filed a lawsuit stating that Avery “slapped her on the side of her face.”

Ramsey asked for $200,000 in the suit. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed by either party.

Martinez and Seagrove claim Avery harassed them on five or six occasions from April 2010 until November 2011 when the couple moved out of East Lake Courts. Seagrove said Avery stopped the couple while they were driving and claimed it was in retaliation to complaints they had made about him to CHA officials.

She also said he stopped her without reason when she was driving alone, then slammed her driver’s license on her car’s dashboard so hard the dashboard cracked.

“I’ve never had somebody do something like that to me,” Seagrove said. “I just froze. I started crying. I was just so upset because I had not experienced that before.”

CHA Chief of Public Safety Felix Vess recently attended a meeting with Seagrove, Martinez and CHA Executive Director Betsy McCright. Vess noted that Martinez was on the CHA’s trespassing list, which has the names of people who don’t live in public housing but are seen on site without identification, which is against CHA rules.

Martinez also admitted during the meeting that he drove without a driver’s license, but he claimed other officers stopped him because Avery said to do it.

Martinez has had long visits with Seagrove for nearly three years but wasn’t on her lease until June 2011, about five months before they moved to another apartment that is not on public housing property.

Vess also noted that all five officers on CHA’s staff, including Avery, said Martinez wasn’t causing any problems on the site.

“Sometimes it’s hard to ignore when people call you this or that or the other,” said Vess.

“You have to know everybody is a person,” he said. “You’ve got to treat that person like you’d like your mother to be treated.”

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Tennessee Police To Begin Routinely Stopping And Searching Vehicles Without Probable Cause

October 20, 2011

PORTLAND, TENNESSEE – You’re probably used to seeing TSA’s signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR).

“Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate,” said Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons.

Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state.

Agents are recruiting truck drivers, like Rudy Gonzales, into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.

“Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road,” said Gonzales.

It’s all meant to urge every driver to call authorities if they see something suspicious.

“Somebody sees something somewhere and we want them to be responsible citizens, report that and let us work it through our processes to abet the concern that they had when they saw something suspicious,” said Paul Armes, TSA Federal Security Director for Nashville International Airport.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections.

“The bottom line is this: if you see something suspicious say something about it,” Gibbons said Tuesday.

The random inspections really aren’t any more thorough normal, according to Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott who says paying attention to details can make a difference. Trott pointed out it was an Oklahoma state trooper who stopped Timothy McVeigh for not having a license plate after the Oklahoma City bombing in the early 1990s.

Tuesday’s statewide “VIPR” operation isn’t in response to any particular threat, according to officials.

Armes said intelligence indicates law enforcement should focus on the highways as well as the airports.

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Gibson Guitar CEO Takes Aim At US Government After Armed Feds Raid Factories And Seize $500K Of Materials And Goods Without Any Filed Charges

October 13, 2011

TENNESSEE – Gibson Guitar Corp.’s chief slammed the U.S. government on Wednesday for sending armed agents to raid two Tennessee factories under a law aimed at curbing the illegal harvest of tropical hardwoods.

“Armed people came in our factory … evacuated our employees, then seized half a million dollars of our goods without any charges having been filed,” Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told reporters and others at a Washington lunch.

“I think it’s a clear overreach,” he said.

Government agents seized a total of over $1 million worth of rosewood, ebony and finished guitars from Gibson factories in Memphis and Nashville in raids in 2009 and August of this year, Juszkiewicz said.

He brought samples of rosewood and ebony to the lunch; these tropical hardwoods, used in guitar fingerboards, are prized for their strength and tone. Gibson’s factories remain open “under great difficulty” because the raids took most of the company’s raw materials, the CEO said.

The U.S. Justice Department declined on Wednesday to comment on the case but provided information on the Lacey Act, which aims to curb trafficking in wildlife, fish and plant products, including illegally obtained timber.

“By prohibiting trafficking in wood illegally harvested overseas, the Lacey Act prohibits companies from undercutting law-abiding U.S. wood products companies … by trading in artificially inexpensive raw materials that have been illegally harvested from foreign forests,” Justice and Interior department officials wrote in a letter.

Gibson Guitar uses a small fraction of the world’s tropical hardwoods, compared to that used for furniture and flooring, and because it uses so little it can use it sustainably, Juszkiewicz said. He said his company has been a leader in this area with its line of SmartWood instruments, using wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

“The issue here is not illegal logging or some conservation abuse,” he said. “The laws that are being identified by the Department of Justice have to do with protectionism by the country of origin, keeping work in that country and therefore not allowing something that isn’t that value-added to be exported.”

The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900 and amended in 2008 to broaden the range of plant products it includes, makes it illegal to trade in plants obtained in violation of U.S. or foreign law.

Those who unknowingly possess an instrument containing wood that was taken illegally “do not have criminal exposure,” the government said in a letter responding to questions from members of Congress on the Gibson case.

Gibson has filed suit in federal court in Nashville to recover the seized material, but that suit has been stayed while the investigation continues, Juszkiewicz said.

Meantime, Gibson’s chief said the law should be changed.

“I believe in the intent of the law … but I do believe that the way it’s currently written allows what’s happening to me to happen to other companies, and that’s wrong,” he said.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner invited Juszkiewicz to join him in the speaker’s box to watch President Barack Obama’s address on jobs to joint session of Congress on September 8.

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Nashville Tennessee TSA Agent Arrested, Jailed, Charged With Statutory Rape

September 21, 2011

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TENNESSEE – A TSA agent has been arrested in Rutherford County on charges of statutory rape.

Clifton Lyles was arrested by U.S. Marshals Tuesday night, following a grand jury indictment.

Lyles worked at Nashville International Airport.

Details about what led to his arrest were not released.

His bond was set at $10,000.

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Feds Raid Gibson Guitar Taking Wood, Files, And Guitars – Trying To Enforce Laws In Far Away Countries…

August 26, 2011

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. And if Gibson did knowingly import illegally harvested ebony from Madagascar, that wouldn’t be a negligible offense. Peter Lowry, ebony and rosewood expert at the Missouri Botanical Garden, calls the Madagascar wood trade the “equivalent of Africa’s blood diamonds.” But with the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

It isn’t just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.

If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.

John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says “there’s a lot of anxiety, and it’s well justified.” Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, “I don’t go out of the country with a wooden guitar.”

The tangled intersection of international laws is enforced through a thicket of paperwork. Recent revisions to 1900’s Lacey Act require that anyone crossing the U.S. border declare every bit of flora or fauna being brought into the country. One is under “strict liability” to fill out the paperwork—and without any mistakes.

It’s not enough to know that the body of your old guitar is made of spruce and maple: What’s the bridge made of? If it’s ebony, do you have the paperwork to show when and where that wood was harvested and when and where it was made into a bridge? Is the nut holding the strings at the guitar’s headstock bone, or could it be ivory? “Even if you have no knowledge—despite Herculean efforts to obtain it—that some piece of your guitar, no matter how small, was obtained illegally, you lose your guitar forever,” Prof. Thomas has written. “Oh, and you’ll be fined $250 for that false (or missing) information in your Lacey Act Import Declaration.”

Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers. Mr. Vieillard asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to fill out the correct paperwork—which simply encouraged them to alert U.S. Customs to give his shipment added scrutiny.

There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn’t have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling.

Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation.

Given the risks, why don’t musicians just settle for the safety of carbon fiber? Some do—when concert pianist Jeffrey Sharkey moved to England two decades ago, he had Steinway replace the ivories on his piano with plastic.

Still, musicians cling to the old materials. Last year, Dick Boak, director of artist relations for C.F. Martin & Co., complained to Mother Nature News about the difficulty of getting elite guitarists to switch to instruments made from sustainable materials. “Surprisingly, musicians, who represent some of the most savvy, ecologically minded people around, are resistant to anything about changing the tone of their guitars,” he said.

You could mark that up to hypocrisy—artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won’t make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions. Then again, maybe it isn’t hypocrisy to recognize that art makes claims significant enough to compete with environmentalists’ agendas.

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Nashvile Tennessee Fire And Police Officals Close Interstate Ramp And Call HAZMAT Crews To Deal With BULL SEMEN

August 23, 2011

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Canisters of bull semen caused quite a scare on the on-ramp to Interstate 65 South Tuesday morning.

The canisters fell off a Greyhound bus just after 5 a.m. as the bus traveled around the curve of the ramp just south of downtown Nashville.

Fire and emergency crews were called to the scene amid reports of a foul odor.

When they discovered four unmarked canisters with steam and an unpleasant odor coming from them, they shut down the on-ramp and called HAZMAT crews.

Officials traced the containers to Greyhound after finding bus tickets on the ground. The bus did not know it lost its load and had continued on.

Authorities called Greyhound, who, after speaking with the driver the bus, determined the canisters to be filled with straws of frozen sperm packed in liquid nitrogen.

The load originated in Columbus, Ohio and was en route to a breeding facility in Laredo, Texas.

Canisters like they ones strewn across the interstate typically carry between 300 and 400 straws, each containing one-milliliter of sperm.

Depending on the bull the sperm came from, straws are worth between $18 and $50 each, according to experts. It’s possible the load that fell off the bus Tuesday morning was worth as much as $80,000.

Once the leaking canisters were deemed not harmful, they were moved to a grassy area next to the interstate.

A local company was called to assist in the cleanup. The scene was cleared around 9 a.m.

A Greyhound spokesperson said it’s not uncommon that the bus was carrying bull sperm.

In addition to transporting people, the also company transports cargo. The canisters were filled with liquid nitrogen and thus could only be transported by ground.

Greyhound said the sperm was stored in a separate compartment below the bus and not near the belongings of passengers.

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Wetback Awarded $200,000 After Being Shackled By Davidson County Tennessee Deputies During Labor – Now Wants To Stay In US As A “Crime Victim”

August 20, 2011

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – An illegal immigrant who this week was awarded $200,000 in a lawsuit against a Tennessee sheriff’s office will ask a federal judge to grant her permission to remain in the United States legally, her attorney told CNN.

A jury on Thursday awarded Juana Villegas the damages in a civil case against the joint government of Nashville and Davidson County in which she alleged that county sheriff’s deputies violated her rights when they shackled her while pregnant, while in labor and during her postpartum recovery. She had initially filed suit against federal officials, but the judge dismissed that part of the case

Now, her attorney, Elliott Ozment, says that he will ask the judge who oversaw the case to grant his client a U-visa, a special status that can be conferred on victims of crimes who are in the country illegally.

The U-visa would allow Villegas — a Mexican national — to live and work legally in the country for three years, and can be renewed for another three years, Ozment said. During that period, she can adjust her status and become a legal citizen.

It’s a long shot, as a U-visa has been awarded by a federal judge only one time before. Usually, they are conferred by other immigration authorities.

“We think the level of misconduct has risen to such a high level that she deserves a U-visa for what she suffered,” Ozment said. “She has been the victim of a terrible, terrible wrong.”

Consideration of Villegas’ fate comes as the Department of Homeland Security announces its intention to individually review roughly 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal immigration courts. Lower-priority cases — those not involving individuals considered violent or otherwise dangerous — will be suspended.

Villegas’ story begins on July 3, 2008, when she was nine months pregnant and driving home with her three children from a doctor’s appointment in metro Nashville.

A police officer pulled her over and, according to Villegas’ complaint, decided to arrest her for driving without a license because the officer suspected she was in the country illegally. The decision to arrest her was influenced by a controversial agreement between the police department and the federal government that allowed local officers to help enforce immigration laws, known as section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

She was transported to a detention center, where two days later, she went into labor.

According to court documents, Villegas was taken to Nashville General Hospital where she was placed on a gurney with her hands and feet shackled.

Once in her hospital room, two Davidson County sheriff’s deputies refused to leave the room while she changed into her hospital gown, and unplugged her phone so she couldn’t alert her husband about her labor, court documents say.

Afterwards, one of the deputies shackled her left foot and right hand to the hospital bed, something that the medical staff called a “barbaric” violation of medical standards, court records state. The shackles were finally removed before she delivered the baby.

“During the trial she testified about how she was afraid for the safety of her baby,” her attorney, Ozment said. “She didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t know what was going to happen.”

After she had delivered the baby, and against doctor’s orders, a third deputy shackled her to the bed again, according to the court documents.

The sheriff’s department’s policies that led the deputies to shackle her throughout the ordeal were a violation of the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions, her lawyers argued.

In April, U.S. District Judge William Haynes ruled in favor of Villegas, and after a three-day trial this week, the jury set the $200,000 award. Villegas’ lawyers had asked for $1.2 million.

Villegas also sued the U.S. government, alleging that she was wrongly arrested under the program. That lawsuit was dismissed.

Villegas had once been deported from San Diego and returned illegally into the United States, and had lived here for years, her lawyer said. At the time of her arrest, her eldest son was 14, and he had been born in the United States.

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Kingsport Tennessee Police Officer Richard Chandler Used Neighbors, Businesses, And Church Routers To Access Child Pornography Network – Sometimes While On Duty

August 16, 2011

KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE – Investigators say a former Kingsport police
officer accessed child pornography over wireless networks belonging to
neighbors, businesses and a church.

Richard Chandler is one of 72 people indicted in an investigation
into an international child pornography network that prosecutors say
used an online bulletin board called Dreamboard to access thousands of
images and videos of sexually abused children.

WJHL-TV reports that the federal search
warrant alleges Chandler made 117 posts to the site, including twice
when he was on duty.

According to court papers, members used screen names rather than
actual names and accessed the bulletin board via proxy servers, with
Internet traffic routed through other computers to disguise a user’s

Special agents said Chandler was able to access the Internet from
more than 30 locations, including one belonging to the Higher Ground
Baptist Church.

“Chandler’s residence … is uniquely positioned such that numerous
wireless networks from adjacent streets appear to be accessible,”
according to the warrant.

The Kingsport church’s network is now password protected.

“As soon as we found out we took care of it,” said Wayne Bledsoe, who is in charge of pastoral care.

Another connection allegedly accessed by Chandler belonged to Marty Blevins.

“To believe that man’s in there going online on my account to get on
there to do something like that with children and stuff, I hope he rots
in jail,” he said. “That’s putting it nicely.”

The U.S. indictments were unsealed in Shreveport. La. The Greeneville
attorney listed as representing Chandler did not return a message from
The Associated Press seeking comment.

Blevins said he planned to change to increase his security settings.

“I don’t want nobody on my stuff,” Blevins said. “I want it private.”

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9/11 Hysteria: Tennessee Bomb Squad, Highway Patrol, And FBI Find “Suspicious” Package In Mailbox Was Defective Cell Phone Being Returned To Phone Company

May 9, 2011

WHITE COUNTY, TENNESSEE – A suspicious package, discovered May 5 in a mailbox behind U.S. Bank, on Mose Drive, was found to be a box, containing a defective cell phone and charger, which was intended to be returned to the phone company.

According to White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, he was informed of the suspicious package, at approximately 3:15 p.m.

Explosive experts with Tennessee Bomb and Arson, Tennessee Highway Patrol and Federal Bureau of Investigation were called to the scene to examine the package.

Officers with Sparta Police Department and White County Sheriff Department also responded to the scene to assist.

“We can’t afford to fool around when it comes to this kind of situation,” said Shoupe. “We can’t take the chance of anyone getting hurt.”

The package was examined, removed from the mailbox and disposed of.

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Chattanooga Tennessee Police Officer Jeremy Williams Under Investigation For Showing Up For Training After Drinking, Officer Brian Angel For Involvement In Assault Case

April 25, 2011

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE – Chattanooga police are investigating two cases involving police officers, including an allegation of officer misconduct.

Officer Jeremy Williams reportedly showed up for a training exercise on April 19 after consuming alcohol, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary. He has been relieved of duty but is working in a non-official capacity pending the outcome of the investigation, she said.

Since it is an ongoing investigation, few details can be released, she said.

Williams was arrested last year on April 18 after he reportedly was involved in an accident and was intoxicated at the time, Weary said. The case was dismissed in court but he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a police officer in the internal investigation and was given a letter of reprimand, she said.

In another case, Officer Brian Angel was involved in an assault case that took place Sunday, Weary said.

Jennifer Wright was arrested Sunday following a domestic incident between her and Angel, the sergeant said, and Wright is charged with domestic assault, vandalism and theft over $1,000.

She is accused of assaulting Angel, vandalizing his apartment, attempting to steal his phone and stealing money from him, Weary said.

Witnesses told police an argument broke out after Wright found Angel in his apartment with a woman.

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Brain-Dead Memphis Tennessee Police Arrest Officer Who Investigated Burglary After His Fingerprints Were Found At Scene

April 22, 2011

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Memphis police officer was wrongly arrested and charged with aggravated burglary after his fingerprints were found at a burglary crime scene that he was investigating.

Now, the MPD has opened an administrative investigation, as officials try to determine how the officers fingerprints would up as evidence, and why he was arrested.

The incident happened in mid-March at the Memphis home of Priscilla Copeland. Her neighbor, Antavious Christopher, happened to be outside at just the right time, and saw the burglary in process.

“I asked ’em, I said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ Christopher said. “I had my handgun on the side.”

Copeland was staying elsewhere while her home was being renovated when the pair of men broke in.

“It just hurt my heart, you know? I work hard,” she said.

Because Antavious Christopher called 911, within 15 minutes, the officers were able to catch two suspects, Terrance Jones and Mario Norfleet.

Back at the scene of the burglary, investigators found fingerprints on a displaced lawnmower in the backyard. Eventually the prints came back to Edrick Braxton, who was arrested, booked into jail, and charged in mid-April – more than a month later.

But, the charges were quickly dropped, because the arrest was a mistake. Braxton is a Memphis police officer, and was originally called to the house to help work the case. According to a statement released Friday by the police department, “…upon further investigation, the warrant was recalled and Officer Braxton was released.”

“I’m okay with that,” Copeland said when she heard the news. “I’m sorry it happened to him.”

Copeland said she is pleased to have a neighbor like Christopher, and is confident in what he witnessed.

Norfleet, meanwhile, also was arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture from a nearby warehouse.

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Memphis Tennessee Police Officer Mutima Winters Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Brutally Beating Her 6 Year Old Daughter

April 6, 2011

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Memphis Police Officer Mutima Winters is due in court Monday to face a charge of Aggravated Child Abuse.

Officer Winters, who is assigned to the Old Allen Station, has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation. She’s been on the force since December, 2008. She is currently out on bond.

The investigation started last week, after police responded to a call at Kate Bond Elementary School. According to the police report, a six-year-old said her mom “whipped her with a belt striking her in the face.” The police report says the girl had injuries to her “face and back, bruising to both thighs and healed welt type injuries to her back.”

The police report also says Officer Winters admitted to “striking the six-year-old with a belt on 3/31/2001.”

A woman at the address Winters gave police after her arrest told WREG News Channel 3 Winters did not live at the home.

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Kingsport Tennessee Police Officer David Johnson Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Breaking Into Ex-Girlfriend’s Home, Pissing On Her Bed, And Assaulting Her And Her New Boyfriend

April 6, 2011

KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE – An off-duty Kingsport police officer has been arrested after allegedly entering his ex-girlfriend’s home, urinating on her bed, then assaulting her and her new boyfriend when they arrived at the residence.

According to an affidavit filed in Washington County court, he repeatedly refused to leave, finally complying when the male victim retrieved a firearm from his truck.

David Johnson, a KPD patrolman and K-9 handler, has been charged with domestic assault, criminal trespassing and vandalism of more than $500. The Johnson City Press reports he turned himself into Washington County authorities late Monday, while Kingsport spokesman Tim Whaley says Johnson has been suspended with pay pending an internal investigation.

Court records state the incident occurred Sunday at 58 Stonebriar Court in Washington County, Tenn. The victim, Johnson’s ex-girlfriend, told police that she and her new boyfriend arrived home to find Johnson sitting in her kitchen.

Johnson had reportedly been at the residence for some time, as several empty bottles of alcohol were in the trash can. He allegedly refused to leave, prompting the other man to ask him to step outside, “hoping to get Mr. Johnson to leave while speaking with him alone.” When that didn’t work the two alleged victims decided to leave the residence and call police, but Johnson reportedly followed them as they walked outside.

When the victim’s current boyfriend again asked Johnson to leave, Johnson reportedly, “swung at him, striking a glancing blow to the top of his head.”

When the ex-girlfriend then told Johnson to stop, according to the affidavit, Johnson, “pushed her in the throat, causing her to stumble backwards.” A Washington County officer that responded to the scene reports observing a red mark on the woman’s neck.

The affidavit states the male victim, knowing Johnson is a police officer and may be armed, retrieved a firearm from his truck. He reportedly, “told Mr. Johnson he would defend himself and to leave,” with Johnson then complying. After Johnson left the woman reportedly found he had urinated in her bed and in a pair of boots.

On Monday afternoon the Times-News contacted city officials to inquire on Johnson’s status with the police department. A press release was issued Tuesday morning, stating Johnson is suspended, “pending the outcome of an internal investigation and/or court action.” No further details were provided.

The press release also contained a prepared statement from Police Chief Gale Osborne, saying his department has, “zero tolerance for actions that violate the law, City policies or conduct unbecoming of an officer.”

“The citizens of Kingsport have graciously provided the manpower, training and technology to get this job done,” reads Osborne’s quotes. “And, the men and women of the Kingsport Police Department prove themselves admirably, upholding the public trust day after day after day in often difficult and dangerous situations.”

Johnson is the fourth Kingsport officer to face disciplinary action in the past three weeks. Last Monday the city of Kingsport issued a press release announcing an internal investigation into confiscated beer had prompted the resignation of Sgt. Gary Keene.

In memos dated March 22 Police Chief Gale Osborne also recommended the employment of Cpl. Tim Horne and Officer Gerald Ray be terminated.

According to personnel records the incident occurred Feb. 5 at Kings View Apartments. Ray allegedly confiscated four cases of beer from minors, then delivered it to Sgt. Keene for his personal use.

A police report on the incident, reviewed and approved by Horne, claimed the four cases of Natural Light had been destroyed. City records claim Horne knew Ray had delivered the beer to Keene.

Horne and Ray are currently appealing Osborne’s recommendation of termination.

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Suicidal Sevierville Tennessee Police Officer Timothy Owen Coulter Arrested After Ramming Blount County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Car And Assaulting Deputies

March 26, 2011

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – An off-duty Sevierville police officer was arrested this afternoon after ramming a Blount County patrol car and causing injury to two deputies last night, according to Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong.

Berrong said 43-year-old Timothy Owen Coulter of Mize Road, Seymour, is at the Blount County Detention Facility charged with three counts of aggravated assault, DUI, felony vandalism and possession of a handgun while intoxicated. He is being held on bonds totaling $102,500.

Sheriff Berrong says he and other deputies responded to an area near Davis Ford Road after a domestic report. Berrong says Coulter was involved in a domestic situation involving a weapon in Sevier County and was threatening suicide. He allegedly was traveling into Blount County to his family’s farm with weapons and threatened to do harm to any law enforcement officer who tried to stop him.

When officers spotted Coulter’s Ford F-250 pick-up truck parked in a driveway on Davis Ford Road, deputies blocked the road and called Coulter on his cell phone. Berrong says Coulter repeated his threat to kill any deputy who tried to approach him, and then backed his truck out of the driveway and sped toward an unoccupied cruiser. He rammed the front end of the cruiser as deputies standing nearby dove into a ditch to avoid being struck. Another cruiser was also damaged. Two officers suffered minor injuries while getting Coulter out of his truck. Both officers have been treated and released at Blount Memorial Hospital.

Officers found a handgun and box of ammunition in Coulter’s truck. He was taken to Blount Memorial Hopsital and then to the Detention Center. He faces charges in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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Monroe County Tennessee Sheriff’s Detectives Doug Brannon And Pat Henry Posed As Attorneys Trying To Get Incriminating Information From A Defendant

March 9, 2011

MONROE COUNTY, TENNESSEE – It seems that in 2008, Monroe County Sheriff’s Detectives Doug Brannon and Pat Henry actually posed as a federal defense attorney in an attempt to get incriminating information out of suspect John Edward Dawson, who was in jail on a host of charges, including theft and drug distribution. Not only that, but in doing so, they also talked Dawson into refusing to cooperate with his public defender and to plead guilty to the charges against him. They communicated with Dawson via a jailhouse informant.

Dawson’s public defender was so taken aback by his assurances to her that he had a “federal lawyer” who had worked out all of his charges, that she actually asked for a psychiatric evaluation. When all this came to light, Dawson’s (real) attorney asked for a continuance in his case so she could assess the damage. Remarkably, Tennessee Tenth Judicial Judge Amy Reedy refused the request, ruling that Dawson made “a real dumb decision” and that he had “picked his poison.”

The appeals court disagreed.

[T]he conduct of the law enforcement officers in this case, and in particular Detective Henry, is so egregious that it simply cannot go unchecked. That Detective Henry would illegally pose as an attorney and arrange the circumstances of the defendant’s case to make it appear as though he had successfully undertaken legal representation of the defendant is abhorrent. That the detective would specifically instruct the defendant not to communicate the relationship to his appointed counsel, in what we can only assume was an effort to enlarge the time for the detective to gain incriminating information from the defendant, renders completely reprehensible the state action in this case. Given the unconscionable behavior of the state actors in this case and the fact that the defendant was essentially prevented from proving prejudice through no fault of his own, we have no trouble concluding that the only appropriate remedy in this case is the dismissal of all the indictments.

According to, Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens and DA Steven Bebb had some knowledge of the ruse, but did nothing to stop it.

During a hearing on the issue, Sheriff Bivens testified that he was vaguely aware of Henry’s plot and did not see “a problem with it,” adding, however that “if it’s illegal, of course, I don’t want to do it.” Bivens did not order a probe of Henry’s actions or take any disciplinary action; nor did Bebb initiate charges of impersonating a lawyer.

Instead, Bebb successfully persuaded Judge Reedy to overlook it all.

Accountability tally: Henry apparently now works as a securities investigator for Regions Bank. From what I can tell, Brannon still works for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Reedy, Bivens, and Bebb are all still on the job.

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Pilot Decides To Go Home Instead Of Putting Up With TSA Agents Searches And Scans Everytime He Goes To Work

October 21, 2010

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Tennessee pilot who says he’s tired of being manhandled by security agents is waiting to see if he will lose his job because he refused a full body scan.

ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts was chosen for the X-ray scan Friday at Memphis International Airport. The Houston-based pilot says he also refused a pat-down and went home.

The 35-year-old Roberts told The Commercial Appeal newspaper he wants to go to work and not be “harassed or molested without cause.”

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen says a person was turned away after refusing to follow federal security procedures but declined to say if it was Roberts, citing privacy considerations.

Roberts says he has safety concerns, but called TSA a “make-work” program that doesn’t make travel safer.

“I just kind of had to ask myself ‘Where do I stand?’ I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal security agent every time I go to work,” he told the Commercial Appeal.

Earlier this week, CBSNewYork reported that full-body scanners have not yet been installed at New York City area airports, despite plans that were in place to have them installed at Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy International, and LaGuardia airports by September.

The Transportation Security Administration told The Star-Ledger of Newark the installation is complex and the scanners would arrive “in the coming weeks.”

Passengers who prefer not to be scanned can choose to be patted down and pass through a metal detector.

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South Fulton Tennessee Fire Department Allowed Family’s House To Burn Because It “Wasn’t On Their List”

October 6, 2010

SOUTH FULTON, TENNESSEE – Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee.

Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat.

“They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn’t do it,” Cranick told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.

The fire started when the Cranicks’ grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.

“We wasn’t on their list,” he said the operators told him.

Cranick, who lives outside the city limits, admits he “forgot” to pay the annual $75 fee. The county does not have a county-wide firefighting service, but South Fulton offers fire coverage to rural residents for a fee.

Cranick says he told the operator he would pay whatever is necessary to have the fire put out.

His offer wasn’t accepted, he said.

The fire fee policy dates back 20 or so years.

“Anybody that’s not inside the city limits of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don’t,” said South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.

The fire department’s decision to let the home burn was “incredibly irresponsible,” said the president of an association representing firefighters.

“Professional, career firefighters shouldn’t be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up,” Harold Schatisberger, International Association of Fire Fighters president, said in a statement. “They get in their trucks and go.”

Firefighters did eventually show up, but only to fight the fire on the neighboring property, whose owner had paid the fee.

“They put water out on the fence line out here. They never said nothing to me. Never acknowledged. They stood out here and watched it burn,” Cranick said.

South Fulton’s mayor said that the fire department can’t let homeowners pay the fee on the spot, because the only people who would pay would be those whose homes are on fire.

Cranick, who is now living in a trailer on his property, says his insurance policy will help cover some of his lost home.

“Insurance is going to pay for what money I had on the policy, looks like. But like everything else, I didn’t have enough.”

After the blaze, South Fulton police arrested one of Cranick’s sons, Timothy Allen Cranick, on an aggravated assault charge, according to WPSD-TV, an NBC station in Paducah, Ky.

Police told WPSD that the younger Cranick attacked Fire Chief David Wilds at the firehouse because he was upset his father’s house was allowed to burn.

WPSD-TV reported that Wilds was treated and released.

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Dumbass Chattanooga Tennessee Police Officer Delays Woman At Door Of Emergency Room As She Suffered Stroke Conditions, Has Her Husband Arrested For Rushing Her To Hospital

June 20, 2010

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE – A patient, believed to be having a stroke, says an officer with the Chattanooga Police Department blocked her husband from taking her to the emergency room at Erlanger Wednesday night.

Aline Wright is a cancer survivor, amputee and a newlywed. Wednesday night she began to show signs she was having a stroke.

“I started feeling some left arm numbness and a facial droop,” said Aline.

“It appeared to me that I was probably having a stroke.”

That’s when her husband of four days, Jesse Wright, put her in the car and rushed her to the Erlanger Medical Center. Wright knows an emergency. He is a nurse technician at Erlanger.

On the way to the hospital, Aline says Jesse treated two red lights like stop signs. He would stop and then proceed if no traffic was coming. After Jesse ran the second stop light one block from Erlanger, the officer turned on the cruiser’s blue lights and followed the couple into the emergency room parking lot.

“At that point we figured because we were so close to Erlanger emergency department that the police would be aware that’s where we were going,” said Aline.

According to Aline, the officer caught up with the couple as they were attempting to enter the emergency room at Erlanger Medical Center. Aline says her husband was carrying her in his arms because she could not walk. According to Aline, the officer blocked the entrance and demanded answers for running the red lights.

“He picks me up in his arms and the officer continues to block the way into the emergency room,” said Aline.

“He’s standing between Jesse and I, and the emergency room doors.”

Aline says eventually the officer allowed them to enter the hospital, but says he didn’t stop there.

Aline tells Channel 3 Eyewitness News that once the couple was placed in a hospital room, the officer attempted to enter their room to arrest Jesse for evading the police.

Erlanger medical personnel then turned the officer away, informing him that since Aline could not speak Jesse was needed to answer questions for the doctors.

Thursday morning Erlanger security informed the couple that a warrant for Jesse’s arrest had been issued, and suggested he turn himself in. Aline says Jesse went to the Hamilton County Jail to turn himself in that evening. According to Aline, jail employees told Jesse that they had no record of a warrant for him and told him he was free to go.

Jesse returned to his ailing wife’s bedside at Erlanger Medical Center.

“I thought it was over,” said Aline.

“But apparently it wasn’t. I was awakened abruptly by people coming in the room.”

On Friday morning the police were back at the hospital. This time Jesse surrendered to Erlanger Security who arrested him on behalf of the Chattanooga Police Department.

Channel 3 had the only crew there as Jesse was released on $7,500 bond, about eight hours after being arrested. He is facing seven charges related to Wednesday night’s events, including felony evading arrest. He’s due in court on July 9th.

Eyewitness News contacted Chattanooga Police today for their side of the story.

Lt. Kim Noorbergen says the officer was just “doing his job”.

The department will not comment further until a formal complaint is filed with the Internal Affairs Department.

Aline Wright says she plans to file a complaint. The couple has already hired an attorney for a possible lawsuit.

An Erlanger spokesperson tells us by law their security guards are obligated to carry out any arrest warrant related to felony charges. The Erlanger spokesperson says once they learned the warrant for Wright’s arrest was issued, and they learned he was in the building, they had to arrest him.

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Owned: Bluff City Tennessee Police Chief Lets Department’s Web Site Domain Expire – Victim Of Speed Trap Camera Buys It – Now Displays Information On Speed Traps

June 8, 2010

BLUFF CITY, TENNESSEE – Brian McCrary found the perfect venue to gripe about a $90 speeding ticket when he went to the Bluff City Police Department’s website, saw that its domain name was about to expire, and bought it right out from under the city’s nose.

Now that McCrary is the proud owner of the site,, the Gray, Tenn., computer network designer has been using it to post links about speed cameras – like the one on U.S. Highway 11E that caught him – and how people don’t like them.

“It’s kind of surprising that they’d just let it lapse like that,” McCrary said, adding that the new site has logged 1,200 unique visitors since he took it over May 22. “I figured they would be aware [it was about to expire] and renew it on their own.”

Domain names – such as the one for the Bristol Herald Courier’s website, – serve as an easy-to-remember substitute for the numerical Internet Protocol addresses that direct people to specific locations (or websites) on the infinite landscape of cyberspace.

Domain names are bought and sold on a subscription basis through hundreds of website hosting companies, such as Go Daddy, which according to a company spokesperson currently manages more than 41 million domains including “”

When someone buys a domain name they can do whatever they want with it for the year that it’s registered to them. They can sell it, use it to keep someone from making a website, or use it to host a site that makes fun of or attacks a company with that name.

But at the end of that year-long registration period, the web hosting company regains control over the domain name and has the option of cancelling it and effectively taking down the customer’s website or selling the domain to someone else.

Go Daddy Domain Services Director Camille Ede said her company tries to avoid either option by sending its customers an e-mail letting them know about the domain’s status 90 days before its expiration date, 60 days before the expiration, 30 days before, 15 days and again five days before the expiration date.

Once the expiration date arrives, Ede said in an e-mail she sent the Herald Courier on Friday, the company replaces the website’s content with a special warning notice letting the site’s visitors know the domain has expired and will be deleted or sold in 42 days.

McCrary saw this notice when he had some questions about a letter he received in the mail letting him know he had to pay $90 because he was caught driving 56 mph through the 45 mph zone that Bluff City’s speed camera has actively patrolled since Jan. 1.

The camera issued 1,662 citations for speeding during its first six weeks on the job, according to an investigation conducted by Herald Courier staff. It issued another 541 citations from March 19-22 when fans for the Food City 500 were in town.

Each one of the citations comes with a $90 speeding ticket that Bluff City splits with American Traffic Solutions, the Scottsdale, Ariz., company that operates the speed camera and dozens of others like it across the country.

“I was going to give [the police department] a call and noticed their domain was about to expire,” said McCrary, who sat back and waited until the 42-day window was over. “As soon as it expired I went ahead and bought it.”

While McCrary was pondering his purchase – something that cost $80 because he signed up for a few services Go Daddy offers along with its domain registration service – the web hosting company made two final attempts to reach the police department.

In accordance with its policy, Ede said, Go Daddy sends its customers an e-mail five days after a domain name expires and 12 days after a domain name expires, bringing the total number of e-mails a customer receives to seven – five before the expiration and two after.

“With more than 8 million customers worldwide,” Ede said in her e-mail, “Go Daddy must rely on its customers to take an active role in monitoring their account information.”

During a Friday interview, Bluff City Police Chief David Nelson admitted that he did not play the “active role” that Ede recommends her customers take when it comes to monitoring their websites.

“It just slipped my mind,” Nelson said, adding that he knows little about computers and the more technical aspects of running a website. “If you open up a website and let it go down, somebody can buy it – I did not know that.”

Because he’s not that familiar with computers, Nelson said, he let one of his officers manage the site and handle its domain registration. That officer, he said, has been out on medical leave, after he came down with a bad illness a few months ago.

“It’s just one of those things that happen,” Nelson said, adding that he turned the matter over to the town’s manager and attorney to see if there was anything they could do with it.

So far, McCrary said, he hasn’t heard anything from either town official about taking over the website. However, he has heard from a lot of people who have run across his new site and have e-mailed him their thoughts about it or the stories he links to.

“Most of the people think it’s a speed trap,” McCary said of the feed back he’s received from the website, something he admitted took him only 15 minutes to put together on a Saturday afternoon. “In my opinion, it looks like this camera thing will come to an end.”

As for Nelson, the police chief is now at the point, two weeks after losing his website, where he can laugh about the situation. He said he has learned his lesson.

The police department is now working with different company to host its website, Nelson said, adding that this company won’t sell the new domain name to someone else.

“We’ll have more control over [our new website] than we did with Go Daddy,” he said. “And this one will be a lot better,” than the one the police department had before.

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Tennessee Wants To Begin Fingerprinting Motorists During Traffic Stops

May 17, 2009

Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature.

Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver’s signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints.

Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights.

“The way I see it, if they take your fingerprint, they have access to your history and that’s an invasion of privacy,” said Martha Simms, 27, a mother of two who recently got a speeding ticket in Davidson County.

State Sen. Joe Haynes and State Rep. Mike Stewart co-sponsored the bill, which gives police departments the choice of collecting a signature or a fingerprint, or collecting a signature and a fingerprint. The bill has been approved by the state House of Representatives, and senators will vote on the measure Wednesday.

The bill, if passed, will take effect on July 1. At that time, any police department within the state could require fingerprinting as a means of identification, said Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat. “It’s their discretion,” he said.

Legislator is skeptical

“As long as the police department is ensuring that it will not create a database using the fingerprints collected on traffic citations and that those fingerprints will be used only to identify the person being stopped and for no other purposes,” Weinberg said, “then the police department appears to be using the technology appropriately.”

But Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, is skeptical and takes issue with the legislation. “If someone said this 15 to 20 years ago, people would be rioting about it. Now it just seems like a lot of people are giving up and giving away their freedoms,” Campfield said. “It’s scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don’t think it is, then you’re just kidding yourself.”

If the bill passes, Tennessee would join other states and cities that have adopted fingerprinting for traffic citations.

The police department in Green Bay, Wis., has been fingerprinting traffic offenders for two years, said Lt. Mark Hellman. Some citizens were concerned at first, he said.

“I think they saw that it wasn’t that big of deal, and that the ones who were most worried about it were likely the ones who were doing something wrong,” Hellmann said. “What they didn’t understand was that a routine traffic stop on the street is an arrest, technically, even if you aren’t taken into physical custody, and during an arrest, you are fingerprinted.”

Police in Phoenix have been collecting fingerprints since 1995, using them to prevent identity theft and to identify immigrants who are in the country illegally.

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Tennessee Wants To Begin Fingerprinting Motorists During Traffic Stops

May 17, 2009

Motorists stopped for traffic violations in Tennessee could be fingerprinted if state lawmakers approve a bill pending in the legislature.

Currently, when drivers are cited during traffic stops, police officers ask for the driver’s signature on the ticket, but the proposed bill would allow police departments to eliminate signatures and collect fingerprints.

Supporters say collecting fingerprints would save money and help police determine whether the driver is wanted for a criminal offense, but opponents worry that it allows the government to tread on individual privacy rights.

“The way I see it, if they take your fingerprint, they have access to your history and that’s an invasion of privacy,” said Martha Simms, 27, a mother of two who recently got a speeding ticket in Davidson County.

State Sen. Joe Haynes and State Rep. Mike Stewart co-sponsored the bill, which gives police departments the choice of collecting a signature or a fingerprint, or collecting a signature and a fingerprint. The bill has been approved by the state House of Representatives, and senators will vote on the measure Wednesday.

The bill, if passed, will take effect on July 1. At that time, any police department within the state could require fingerprinting as a means of identification, said Haynes, a Goodlettsville Democrat. “It’s their discretion,” he said.

Legislator is skeptical

“As long as the police department is ensuring that it will not create a database using the fingerprints collected on traffic citations and that those fingerprints will be used only to identify the person being stopped and for no other purposes,” Weinberg said, “then the police department appears to be using the technology appropriately.”

But Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Knoxville Republican, is skeptical and takes issue with the legislation. “If someone said this 15 to 20 years ago, people would be rioting about it. Now it just seems like a lot of people are giving up and giving away their freedoms,” Campfield said. “It’s scary. I really think that these fingerprints will be used to create a database eventually, if not right away. If you don’t think it is, then you’re just kidding yourself.”

If the bill passes, Tennessee would join other states and cities that have adopted fingerprinting for traffic citations.

The police department in Green Bay, Wis., has been fingerprinting traffic offenders for two years, said Lt. Mark Hellman. Some citizens were concerned at first, he said.

“I think they saw that it wasn’t that big of deal, and that the ones who were most worried about it were likely the ones who were doing something wrong,” Hellmann said. “What they didn’t understand was that a routine traffic stop on the street is an arrest, technically, even if you aren’t taken into physical custody, and during an arrest, you are fingerprinted.”

Police in Phoenix have been collecting fingerprints since 1995, using them to prevent identity theft and to identify immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Appeared Here

Chattanooga Tennessee Police Chief Freeman Cooper’s Girlfriend’s Car Torched After Talk Radio Show Gives Out Info On The Air

April 4, 2009

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE – Chattanooga Police Chief Freeman Cooper said on-air statements by a
Talk Radio host may have led to the torching of a car belonging to a
female friend.

Chief Cooper said Robert T. Nash, afternoon host on WGOW, repeatedly
talked about him allegedly spending time on Anderson Avenue with April

He said, “He continually talked about it and gave the exact address.
He spent two hours just the other day trashing her. This may have put
me and Ms. Millsaps in danger.”

He said he did not know if the arson of the 2008 Dodge Nitro that formerly
belonged to him was aimed at him or Ms. Millsaps.

Mr. Nash said, “I think it is ridiculous that the head of a law enforcement agency would actually believe, let alone be foolish enough to assert, that something I said led to the burning of a car. After all, I do 15 hours of live radio every week using my real name. I proudly proclaim my Brainerd residency, my home telephone number with street address is published in the print and online telephone directory, and I have been known to give out my own home address – 3623 Lerch Street – On Air. I can’t resist pointing out no harm has ever come to me, my wife, our pets or our property.”

Mr. Nash said Chief Cooper’s assertion “appears to be yet another link in a long chain of events that seemingly suggest Mr. Cooper is not an effective leader, going so far as to suggest the chief may be suffering from paranoia. “I know law enforcement is a stressful occupation.

“As for the facts at hand, if Chief Cooper really believes this, then the burden of proof is upon him to prove that is what happened. I think it is beyond telling that Police Chief Freeman Cooper would be so shortsighted as to make the unfortunate suggestion that a legitimate member of the working media reporting factually and accurately from public records has somehow placed him or anyone else in danger. I’ll go on to say blaming the media is rarely a satisfactory response to anything. I mean really, if Freeman Cooper is fearful for his own safety, I will respectfully suggest he give considerable thought to stepping down and returning to private life.”

Chief Cooper said later Friday, “Talk Show host Robert T. Nash did not just talk about April Millsaps on his show, but he actually gave her name, age, date of birth, home address, and cell number on the air.

“He then proceeded to give the make, model and color of the vehicle that she drove to include the tag number. All of this information given out live over the radio is most definitely an act that would be considered by most normal people that would endanger the life and property of this young woman. For this man to now claim that he should not be blamed for any harm that may have come to Miss Millsaps is ridiculous.

“The fact that she is or is not a girlfriend is irrelevant, and a part of my personal life and not a matter that I will discuss. I have violated no public policy, city code or ordinance, police policy or procedure – even if I were involved in a relationship with Miss Millsaps. For anyone to allege any different, including Robert T. Nash, is just a lie.”

Chief Cooper said the vehicle was totally destroyed in the fire about
1:30 a,m. on Sunday, March 15.

He said Ms. Millsaps and her two small children were sleeping in her
nearby apartment at the time.

East Ridge Police said they were dispatched to Anderson Avenue on a
car fire. When they arrived, they observed a 2008 Dodge Nitro on fire
in the parking lot.

After the fire was under control, an arson investigator found a
lighter lying behind the car. Police said when the fire department
first approached, the driver’s side door was open.

A second vehicle that was nearby was damaged.

The Dodge Nitro was towed to East Ridge Fire Station 2 for further
investigation. East Ridge Police said they were following up on
several leads.

Ms. Millsaps became an employee of the police department on Feb. 9
working as a records clerk.

The Dodge Nitro had recently been moved into her name.

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