News release from TBI:
Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today arrested a Meigs County Sheriff’s deputy after he was indicted by the Rhea County grand jury earlier this week on charges stemming from a shooting incident in Rhea County last year.
Bradley Collins, 35, of Spring City, was indicted on one count of aggravated assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. On September 23, 2012, while off duty, Collins responded to his sister’s residence on Old Stage Road in Spring City after being informed that she was assaulted by her father, 46-year-old Randall Lee Copeland.
When Collins arrived at the residence, he discovered that his sister as safe and Copeland had returned to his residence next door. Knowing that Rhea County Sheriff’s Department was responding, Collins walked to Copeland’s residence with his duty pistol. Collins alleges that Copeland had a rifle in his hands, refused to put it down, and Collins fired twice at him. Copeland was not shot. Owners of a nearby home were outside working on a vehicle when Collins fired the weapon. The 12th Judicial District Attorney General requested TBI to investigate the shooting incident.
Collins was booked into the Rhea County Jail this morning on a $10,000 bond.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Police have arrested former Shelby County interim Mayor Joe Ford on charges of writing a bad check and theft.
The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/TFy6Iy) reports Ford was lodged on Tuesday morning in the Shelby County jail. A police report says the charges stem from a $1,301.23 check written to Lauderdale Liquors.
Online jail records don’t show whether he has an attorney.
Ford served on the County Commission and was then appointed as interim county mayor from December 2009 until August the next year, when he lost an election to Mark Luttrell.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A vocal faculty member at Tennessee State University who has opposed university leadership was taken away from a meeting in handcuffs on Monday and removed as the chair of the faculty senate.
Jane Davis, an English professor, was arrested by campus police on a charge of disorderly conduct, TSU spokesman Rick Delahaya told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/PAq0ex ).
Davis has been an outspoken critic of policies and decisions made by TSU interim President Portia Shields, who came to the university in early 2011 to make reforms for the school to gain a necessary full accreditation. Her contract expires at the end of the year.
Last week a suggestion was made to oust Davis and the Faculty Senate’s executive council and the university surveyed faculty members on the idea. In the online poll, 60 percent of those who responded said they wanted Davis removed and 59 percent said they wanted the executive council to go with her.
Davis said she wanted to speak in her defense about the survey and calls for her removal.
“Dr. Shields attempted to discuss the results of the Faculty Senate survey,” said Delahaya. “Dr. Davis then became extremely disruptive and would not allow the meeting to proceed.”
Davis said that she wanted to speak with Shields, who was at the meeting.
“This was my one chance to speak in front of her, but speech in front of her that she doesn’t agree with is disorderly conduct,” she said.
Following the arrest, the Faculty Senate voted to remove her as the chair. Davis said that the vote to remove her was illegitimate because the meeting had been called by university administration rather than the faculty senate.
“Nothing that happened there counts,” said Davis, who still considers herself the leader of the legislative body.
Davis said that the Faculty Senate was intimidated by Shields when they decided to vote her out.
“They see someone being put away in handcuffs. How will they not go along with it?” she said.
Delahaya said Shields did not suggest or endorse the removal of Shields and wanted the school’s entire faculty to be represented.
“She did want the faculty to have some type of voice,” he said.
Davis said she is being retaliated against by Shields for complaining that university administrators changed grades for some students. The university said it was correcting a mistake in grading.
“This is crystal-clear intimidation and retaliation,” Davis said.
State Rep. David Hawk, R-5th, of Greeneville, was charged with domestic assault Sunday morning following an altercation with his wife at the couple’s home here, sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Ricker said in a report Sunday afternoon.
More from the Greeneville Sun’s report: According to the report, Hawk’s wife told deputies that her husband struck her in the face with his hand, knocking her to the ground.
Rep. Hawk, 43, a five-term member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, is being held in the Greene County Detention Center pending a first scheduled appearance Monday morning in Greene County General Sessions Court.
Because of the nature of the charge, no bond was set, the report said. It is common for no bond to be set in cases involving domestic assault until the accused has made an initial appearance before a judge.
Hawk’s wife is Crystal Goan Hawk, a Greeneville attorney and the current president of the Greene County Republican Women. Note: The above updates and replaces earlier post. UPDATE II: From WCYB-TV:
The report says the call came in from David Hawk’s wife, Crystal Hawk. She said they had been drinking early that morning. and that Hawk looked through her cell phone and became mad. She said they began arguing and around 8:00 Sunday morning, he hit her in the face with his hand and knocked her to the ground. She told authorities she was holding their 11-month-old daughter at the time.
According to Officer Michael McDonald’s report, Hawk left the house with the child and went to a neighbor’s house. Crystal Hawk told the officer she went to a friend’s house and called authorities.
Our crews spoke to David Hawk as he came out of the courtroom this morning. He told our crews this: “Yesterday, my wife had a gun and told me she was going to put a bullet in my head while I was holding my baby. At that time, I escaped to safety with my daughter”.
Hawk was released on a $500 bond. He’s scheduled to be back in court on May 21st. The judge ordered that Hawk have no contact with his wife and supervised contact with his 11-month-old daughter.
Rand Paul, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and son of presidential candidate Ron Paul, was held at Nashville International Airport Monday morning for refusing to complete the screening process after he triggered an alarm, reports The Tennessean. The Transportation Security Administration claimed Rand Paul triggered an alarm during routine airport screening and refused to complete the screening process in order to resolve the issue, TSA spokesman Jon Allen said.
The scanner found an “anomaly” on Paul’s knee, according to the Associated Press.
Paul claimed he asked for another scan but refused a pat down by airport security and was then detained at a small cubicle and missed his flight.
Paul said the situation reflects his long-standing concern that the TSA shouldn’t be “spending so much time with people who wouldn’t attack us.”
Jonathan Meador, the Nashville Scene reporter arrested along with Occupy Nashville protesters, has written up an account of the evening. Excerpts: While waiting in line to be processed onto the idling Department of Correction bus along with the others who’d been snatched up, I started to burp up my meal from earlier in the evening — an overpriced hamburger with fries and Jack and Coke. The trooper shot me a smirk.
“Smells like you been drinkin’ tonight,” he said. A few moments later, he informed one of his comrades to cite me for public intoxication.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I said. At that moment I happened to notice my colleagues standing near the bus, in various stages of what I can only describe as freaking the hell out. I yelled out to them to call my editor.
…(After being arrested and listening to conversations of others arrested) Normally, such talk strikes me as the fringe ramblings of stereotypical anarchists or right-wing conspiracists. But after what happened tonight, I felt only a chill.
On and on it went, while all I could think of was getting home to bed. Abruptly, we heard cheers erupt from the women’s cell. One of them had been checking her Twitter account. She learned that the sitting magistrate — again, Tom Nelson — threw out the charges against us and demanded that we be released immediately.
Since the troopers hadn’t confiscated any of my equipment, I pulled out my phone and began clandestinely tweeting in the cell. Indeed, multiple sources were reporting that Nelson declared our detainment unconstitutional. “Can I go home now?” I tweeted. To celebrate, I gathered the men into a line and proceeded to take their picture with my smart phone.
“All right,” I said. “Say, ‘Bill Haslam!’ ”
It was a stupid act of bravado, though. When I attempted to upload the picture to the Internet, one of the guards caught me. “Hey!” he shouted. “You can’t be playin’ with that in here!”
He attempted to take it from me and I pulled it back. That was a bad idea. The guard smacked the phone out of my hand, and it ricocheted off the concrete cell wall. “You know I could charge you with a felony for that?” he screamed. “That’s contraband! You’re not supposed to have that in here! That’s a felony!”
Everyone was quiet. I didn’t feel so brave now. I said I hadn’t been searched. I said nothing of mine had been confiscated. I even pointed out no one had told me the items were illegal.
“I know your little buddy, this guy, here was here last night,” he said, pointing to one of the men who’d been arrested in the previous night’s raid. “He knows better. He shoulda told you. I know he knows better.”
“Nobody said anything,” I said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
For a moment the guard stood there. He turned around and picked up my phone, which, surprisingly, was intact. He handed it back to me.
“Since these are … special circumstances,” he shouted, “I’m going to give this back to you. But don’t play with it again!”
I thanked him. I slid the phone into my laptop bag. My cellmates started laughing when he left the room.
The Board of the Middle Tennessee Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, has set a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam and Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons protesting the arrest and detention of Nashville Scene reporter Jonathan Meador early Saturday at the Legislative Plaza.
Text of the letter is below.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities in Tennessee made about 30 arrests early Friday at the site where a few dozen Wall Street protesters have been encamped for about three weeks in Nashville, protesters said.
Authorities began moving in a little after 3 a.m. using a newly enacted state policy that set a curfew for the grounds near the state Capitol, including Legislative Plaza where the protesters had been staying in tents. The state’s new rules specifically banned “overnight occupancy” at the public space and require permits and use fees for rallies.
Friday’s arrests came after a week of police crackdowns around the country on Occupy Wall Street activists, who have been protesting economic inequality and what they call corporate greed. In Oakland, Calif., an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured during a protest clash with police Tuesday night. In Atlanta early Wednesday, helicopters hovered overhead as officers in riot gear arrested more than 50 protesters at a downtown park.
But in Nashville later Friday morning, Jeff Blum of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said the arrested protesters were being released after a night court judge wouldn’t sign the warrants. He didn’t elaborate on the judge’s refusal.
Protester Steve Reiter, who works closely with the group’s legal team, said there were apparently problems with how the protesters were taken into custody, particularly concerning being given proper notice. Reiter said their release is a victory for Occupy Nashville.
Katy Savage, another of the protesters, said she peeked out of her tent around 3 a.m. and saw that the camp was surrounded by state troopers.
“I was grabbing our stuff to try to get it off the area,” she said.
Savage said people who had already decided they would get arrested sat down together and began singing “We Shall Overcome” as troopers took them — dragging some — to waiting buses.
About 20 protesters, who remained on a sidewalk, were not arrested and were still there later in the morning. All the tents had been removed from the plaza and state workers could be seen picking up items left by the protesters. Several state troopers stood guard at the steps to the Capitol.
Asked about the arrests, Savage said she was “disgusted and disappointed.”
“This was a group of brilliant, wonderful people that I had come to know as family, practicing democratic decision-making on public space. And for that they were dragged away in handcuffs,” Savage said.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott would not give details about the arrests, saying only that authorities were there “to enforce the general services policy for the plaza and the Capitol area.”
State officials planned to hold a news conference later in the morning to discuss the arrests.
Protester Albert Rankin said Thursday that the group intended to face arrests with “no hostility whatsoever” to avoid a repeat of violent shutdowns of protests in other cities this week.
“There were some shouts here and there, but for the most part, it was very peaceful,” Rankin said of Friday’s arrests in Nashville.
Police last removed protesters from the legislative office complex in March during discussions of anti-union bills. Seven were arrested for disrupting a Senate Commerce Committee meeting and resisting arrest but later acquitted. See also The Tennessean, which has pictures of protesters being arrested by Highway Patrol officers.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee state lawmaker who was the lead sponsor of a law allowing handgun concealed carry permit holders to bring their guns into bars has been arrested on charges of drunken driving and possession of a gun while under the influence. Rep. Curry Todd, a Collierville Republican, was pulled over in Nashville late Tuesday, police say in court documents. He allegedly failed a roadside sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found in a holster stuffed between the driver seat and the center console.
A police affidavit said Todd was unsteady on his feet, “almost falling down at times.” It concluded that Todd was “obviously very impaired and not in any condition to be carrying a loaded handgun.”
As a former Memphis police officer, Todd isn’t required to have to have a permit to carry a gun in public, but state records show he has one anyway.
State law makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to consume alcohol while carrying a firearm in public, and those who violate that law are subject to losing their permits for three years.
The name of a lawyer for Todd, who is a former Memphis police officer, could not immediately be located. A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus had no immediate comment on the arrest.
Todd’s arrest was first reported by WSMV-TV.
Todd sponsored a 2009 bill to allow people with handgun carry permits to bring their weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, provided they don’t drink. The law passed despite opposition from law enforcement and district attorney groups, and easily survived a veto from former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
A judge later declared the law unconstitutionally vague. The Legislature passed a new version last year.
Todd, the chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, is known for flashes of a quick temper. After Bredesen vetoed the original version of the guns in bars bill, Todd said: “I want to tell you what the governor can do with that piece of paper he just sent.”
Todd also drew national attention last year for saying in a committee hearing that illegal immigrants can “go out there like rats and multiply” after hearing that federal law requires the state to extend prenatal care to women regardless of their citizenship status because all children born in the U.S. are citizens.
Todd initially acknowledged that he used the wrong words and that he meant to say “anchor babies” — itself a term many consider offensive — but refused to apologize for the original remark.
Todd later changed course and said he would “apologize if the comment offended anyone.”
News release from state Comptroller’s office:
Whitwell’s former police chief and former city recorder were arrested this week on theft charges following an investigation by the Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit.
The investigation revealed that both Robin Nipper, the former city recorder, and Ronnie Davis, Jr., the former police chief, had used city credit cards to make unauthorized personal purchases.
Nipper used a city credit card issued in her name at stores such as GameStop, Aeropostale, Hot Topic and Dish Network. She made more than $9,100 in online payments on the cards from the city’s bank account. While she did reimburse the city for some of the charges before the investigation was completed, she repeatedly made personal charges that far exceeded her payments. Nipper also issued herself a duplicate payroll check in May 2009 for more than $1,000.
Auditors also discovered that Davis made more than $4,500 in personal purchases at stores such as Abercrombie and ACT Programs on a city credit card issued in his name. He also repaid the city for his personal charges before the investigation was completed. In interviews with state auditors, Davis admitted he made the personal charges on the credit card, but claimed the former city manager authorized him to make personal charges as long as he reimbursed the city. The former city manager has denied that assertion.
The Comptroller’s report, which will be released in a few days, also highlighted a number of issues with the way the city’s finances were managed during the period covered by the audit, which spanned from July 1, 2008 through Oct. 31, 2010. The report outlines how the city failed to adopt purchasing and credit card policies, failed to adequately separate duties among city personnel, failed to provide documentation to support disbursements and paid more than $2,200 for unnecessary Internet services. City officials have agreed with the Comptroller’s recommendations and are taking corrective action to address the issues identified in the report.
“I am encouraged that Whitwell city leaders are taking steps necessary to improve their purchasing and bookkeeping practices,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “However, it is unfortunate that this is happening only after two individuals placed in positions of trust were able to misappropriate taxpayers’ money. This should be a cautionary reminder to other communities about the importance of adopting and following appropriate financial management procedures.”