Tag Archives: crimes

House candidate’s brother killed in Chattanooga

A 28-year-old man who was shot and killed Friday in Chattanooga was the brother of Dennis Clark, a Democrat who is running for Tennessee House District 28 seat, reports the Times-Free Press.

Jeremy Clark was in a lot at 2008 Glass St. with several other people when he was shot once. Police said Friday they were still working out exactly what happened, but it does not appear the shooting was a drive-by.

Court records show Jeremy Clark is a known member of the Gangster Disciples, but police have not said whether the shooting was connected to his gang involvement.

…A suspect has not been named or arrested in Clark’s death.

Following his brother’s death, Dennis Clark released a statement Friday, giving his thanks for the outpouring of support he and his family had received from the community, saying he would continue his campaign despite the tragedy.

“As we struggle to understand why his life was taken so suddenly, my family and I have chosen, in his honor, as he would have liked it, to continue my campaign for change in our community and to fight to end the violence occurring in our neighborhoods,” he said.

“There is no better time than now, for us to stand together in solidarity to begin the healing process in making our communities whole and safe again.”

He went on to condemn the violence, lamenting for him and his family, the loss of a son, a brother, and a friend.

“No parent, brother, sister or friend should have to face this kind of sadness, this kind of loss. And yet we have joined the ranks of those families who still mourn their loved ones who have fallen to other senseless acts of violence,” he said.

…Clark is the 21st person to be killed in Chattanooga so far in 2016. Like Clark, most of the people killed in this year were black men, with 13 of the 21 victims, or about 62 percent, black.

Note: Dennis Clark is opposing Rep. JoAnn Favors of Chattanooga in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary for House District 28.

Haslam on domestic violence and human trafficking

Gov. Bill Haslam cited the recent slaying of a Knoxville social worker — allegedly by her ex-husband who also kidnapped their child before being apprehended — in a speech on domestic violence and human trafficking Tuesday, reports the News Sentinel.

The Knoxville woman was killed Oct. 28 at her North Knoxville apartment and her daughter, Brooklynne, was kidnapped in what police said was a domestic violence case involving her husband, Tyler Enix.

“When Kimberly Enix loses her life, it’s a way too visible reminder how serious and real the problem is and that it doesn’t happen somewhere else,” Haslam said Tuesday night in Knoxville.

Speaking at the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee’s educational program on domestic violence and human trafficking at the East Tennessee History Center, the Republican governor said plenty of steps to combat domestic abuse have been taken by the state. They include the passage of stiffer laws and the opening of family justice centers for victims, both of which have helped decrease domestic violence crimes by 14.8 percent since 2010.

However, as he said of the issue, “It’s still far too prevalent.”

Haslam, who was also in town for his 4-year-old grandson’s birthday, said human trafficking is also a serious problem in Tennessee and that it is not just an urban or immigrant problem as people might believe.

He pointed out that human trafficking is also tied in with the heroin addiction problem, which he called another serious issue for the state.

“The rise of heroin abuse in our state is on the verge of being out of control,” he said with concern.

To combat all these related problems, he said the work of groups like the Women’s Fund of East Tennessee is important. The nonprofit works with various service organizations and governmental agencies and other to bring about positive change through education and other actions.

“What we need are folks like you coming beside us to add heart,” he said, adding that governmental entities cannot solve problems on their own.

Undercover TN Walking Horse abuse videos bring new investigation

By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three years after a prominent Tennessee walking horse trainer pleaded guilty to abuse charges following the release of undercover videos, a new horse abuse investigation is under way.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is investigating allegations of Tennessee walking horse abuse at ThorSport Farm following new videos the Humane Society of the United States says show trainers applying caustic substances onto horses’ forelegs to irritate them. The trainers then place chains over the inflamed area that hit the forelegs as the horses walk.

The illegal training method is known as soring and is used to create the “big lick” gait prized at some horse shows.

The Humane Society says an undercover stable worker took the videos and also collected samples of the chemicals applied to the horses’ legs. Testing found them to contain salicylic acid and mustard oil, among other illegal substances, Humane Society Vice President of Equine Protection Keith Dane said.

In an emailed statement, stable owner Duke Thorson said, “ThorSport Farm has a well-earned reputation for operating ethically and legally, and we emphatically reject the HSUS’s charges of soring.”
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Rep. Hawk’s trial: Wife testifies she was ‘terrified’

Crystal Goan testified Tuesday that she was physically assaulted and “terrified” by the actions of husband David Hawk early on March 18, 2012, after the two argued over a text message Hawk claimed she received, according to the Greeneville Sun.

On cross-examination defense lawyer Thomas Dillard asked Goan about a previous civil case in U.S. District Court involving her first husband.

The cross-examination brought out potentially damaging details about that case and called Goan’s credibility into question.

And, from WGRV radio’s recap of Tuesday’s testimony:
Goan testified that theirs had been a rocky marriage dating all the way back to their wedding night when she said Hawk expressed regret in marrying her. It was over a year, Goan testified, before they lived together. Goan said that all through their relationship Hawk had always been jealous of any male friends or coworkers she had and that Hawk had accused her numerous times of having an affair. Goan testified that she had never been unfaithful.

On the night of March 17, 2012, Goan said she and Hawk had gone to an event in downtown Greeneville. Upon returning home, Goan said she went up to bed, but was awakened by Hawk screaming and pulling her out of bed. Goan said Hawk grabbed her arm and pulled her to the floor. She testified he then went into their child’s room and locked the door. Goan said it must have been barricaded as she wasn’t able to push the door open.

After staying outside the door most of the night, Goan said that the next morning she was able to convince Hawk to let her feed the baby. But as she finished and tried to get up from the couch, Hawk repeatedly pushed her back down. Finally, Goan testified that Hawk struck the right side of her face. Goan said when she regained her senses, she realized that Hawk and their daughter weren’t in the house. It was then that she left for a friend’s house where to police were called.

When asked why she left the house instead of calling for help, Goan said that she was afraid that Hawk’s political standing would result in authorities not taking her complaint seriously. She testified that she did not point a gun at Hawk, something Hawk had contended happened and that he was acting in defense of himself and his child. Goan said the only gun she owned was an antique that was kept in a safe at a Bulls Gap office.

On cross-examination by Hawk’s lawyers, Goan was asked about a ruling against her in a previous divorce case. Goan said that she had not ready a judge’s opinion that found that she had illegally put spyware on her previous husband’s computer and that she had altered a prenuptual agreement without his knowledge. When asked repeatedly about that suit and judgement, Goan asserted that she has never read the information.

Tuesday morning, the jury heard testimony from Farrah Nelson, the office manager for the law practice of Crystal Goan Hawk. Nelson said that David Hawk was very concerned about his wife’s schedule and checked up frequently on her activities. She also testified that she was often responsible for mediating arguments and conflicts between the Hawks, which usually occurred when David Hawk returned from his legislative duties in Nashville.

…Testimony was also heard from local attorney Sandra Stanbery-Foster, who was at a social event with the Hawks the night of the alleged assault and said that neither were intoxicated and seemed pleasant. Foster received a call from Crystal Hawk the following morning and discovered her at the Crockett Lane home, and corroborated earlier testimony about the nature of her injuries.

TBI Reports Hate Crimes Up, Law Enforcement Deaths Down

News release from TBI:
Nashville, Tenn. – The State of Tennessee saw an increase in the number of hate crimes committed in the state and a decrease in the number of law enforcement officers killed or assaulted for the calendar year 2011, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s statistical analysis of Tennessee crime statistics and the compiling of two separate, annual reports.
Today, the TBI released both “Tennessee Hate Crime 2011” and “Tennessee Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted (LEOKA) 2011” based on required monthly reporting of local law enforcement agencies crime statistics across the state.
Bias motivated offenses were up nearly 51% to 261 offenses reported in 2011 compared with 173 in 2010. Prior to 2011, a three year analysis of hate bias offenses showed a decline every year between 2008 and 2010. There were 1,810 LEOKA incidents reported in 2011 compared with 1,854 in 2010, a 2.4% decrease.

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Legislature Votes to Make Lying About Military Service a Crime

False claims of military service could lead to a $500 fine or six months in jail under legislation sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature by a Monday night state Senate vote.
The Senate vote on HB2491 was 33-0 with Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, as sponsor and virtually no debate. The House had approved earlier with a vote of 93-2 with Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, as sponsor.
“Apparently, there were some people putting on their tombstones that they were World War II or Vietnam veterans,” Massey told colleagues in a brief Senate floor discussion.
Dunn said earlier that a woman constituent, who he declined to identify, had seen the tombstones bearing claims of military service that she knew were bogus.Her concerns inspired him to file the bill, Dunn said.
Dunn said he considered any false claim of military service to be a “theft of valor” and there should be a penalty.
The bill exempts people wearing military uniforms in parades, acting performances or for educational purposes. The sponsors noted there’s already a state law that makes it illegal to wear military medals that were not earned in military service and said the new law will basically broaden the existing statute.
Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, one of the two representative who voted against the bill, said he thought the measure went too far and wondered whether the new law would be enforced against, for example, against teenagers wearing an Army surplus hat. Dunn said that the prosecution would require actual intent to deceive others about military service and such a situation would not meet the standard.

Governor Unveils ‘Public Safety Action Plan’ (with multiple ‘action steps’

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a comprehensive, multi-year action plan designed to improve public safety statewide.
The Governor’s Public Safety Subcabinet Working Group, which includes commissioners and representatives from 11 state agencies, submitted the plan after months of meetings with more than 300 public safety professionals and stakeholders across the state.
The three goals of the public safety action plan are to significantly reduce drug abuse and drug trafficking; curb violent crime; and lower the rate of repeat offenders. There are 11 objectives and 40 action steps outlined in the plan, all specifically linked to those goals.
“Keeping our citizens safe is one of state government’s primary responsibilities,” Haslam said. “This action plan is a detailed road map that addresses some of our toughest safety challenges head on. I am proud of this group – whose members bring a number of different perspectives to the table – for working together to recommend meaningful solutions. They are coordinating their efforts and moving in the same direction to implement this plan.”
While it is a multi-year strategy, the subcabinet working group expects to launch approximately 20 of the steps in 2012. Several of these steps include:
Making improvements to the current prescription drug data base to make it easier to identify abusers;
Developing regional alliances with other states to tackle prescription drug abuse;
Placing non-violent drug addicts into drug court treatment programs;
Imposing tougher sentences for certain types of gang-related crimes;
Enacting tougher sentences for gun possession by those with prior violent felony convictions;
Realigning under the Department of Correction the supervision of adult felony offenders to include probation, parole and community corrections; and
Mandating incarceration time for repeat domestic violence offenders.
Eight of the identified action steps are already underway. Some of those steps include:
Development of a real-time database to track the purchases of pseudoephedrine products (commonly used to make meth);
A statewide meth lab clean-up system;
Development of a new anti-meth communications campaign;
In-depth training of all state road troopers on drug interdiction; and
A pilot effort in Shelby County to create a one-stop shop for assistance and services to inmates returning to the community.
“While we have seen an improvement, Tennessee continues to have a violent crime rate far above the national average and the highest among southeastern states,” Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons, who chairs the working group, said. “This plan addresses many of the underlying factors that lead to crime in our state and takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the problem.”
The Public Safety Subcabinet Working Group includes commissioners of the departments of Safety and Homeland Security, Mental Health, Children’s Services, Correction, Health and Military along with the chairman of the Board of Probation and Parole, the directors of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (Department of Transportation), Office of Criminal Justice Programs (Department of Finance and Administration), Law Enforcement Training Academy (Department of Commerce and Insurance) and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The subcabinet working group has received additional support from the Tennessee Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, and the Center for Non-Profit Management.
Note: to see PDF of the ‘Public Safety Action Plan, click on this link: PUBLIC_SAFETY_ACTION_PLAN.PDF