sheriffs

Sheriff’s deputies disciplined for cuffing, cussing and threatening man recording a traffic stop

A man who was cuffed, cussed and curtailed from recording a Bradley County Sheriff’s Office traffic stop in April says he’s glad to hear two officers involved in the incident have been disciplined, reports the Times Free Press.

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Mayor running for Congress, former sheriff running for legislature squabble in hallway, exchange insults afterwards

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who is running for a seat in Congress,  and former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchinson, who is running for a seat in the state House, had a heated exchange when they crossed paths in Knoxville’s City-County building recently, reports the News Sentinel.

The May 10 incident was caught on a security camera video, but without any audio. The two men offer differing accounts of the verbal exchange, though both say it included anonymous emails about Burchett and his stepson. The two have a political history: Burchett defeated Hutchinson in the 2010 mayor’s race.

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Lawrence County sheriff, captain charged with official misconduct

Lawrence County Sheriff Jimmy Brown and a captain in his office have been charged with official misconduct after allegations ranging from mishandling moonshine to improper release of jail inmates — some of whom had relatives making campaign donations to the sheriff.

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Controversial Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson defeated in GOP primary

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, a former state representative whose term as chief of county law enforcement has been mired by controversy, was defeated in Tuesday’s Republican primary by Steve Lawson, who resigned as head of criminal investigations under Watson earlier this year.

Lawson had 8,179 votes; Watson 7,004. There’s no Democrat on the ballot, so Lawson is assured of winning the office in the Aug. 2 general election.

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Sheriff sees ‘dirty politics’ in PAC complaints over prisoners’ trip to church

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson held a news conference Thursday to denounce as “dirty politics” claims by a political action committee that he put the public in danger by taking nine state prisoners to a church in civilian clothes, apparently unguarded, reports the Times Free Press. 

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Charges against Bradley County sheriff dropped

A special prosecutor has dismissed all 12 felony counts against Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, who was facing trial Jan. 22 on charges of forging automobile titles, reports the Times Free Press.

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Sheriff fires daughter, son-in-law for using illegal drugs

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal has fired his daughter and son-in-law last week after discovering communications between them discussing their use of illegal drugs, reports the Johnson City Press.

Shelly Graybeal and her husband, Scott Johnson, who had each worked at the sheriff’s office for more than a decade, were terminated from their employment Nov. 20, Chief Operations Officer Leighta Laitinen said.

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TN sheriff gets prison time for having sex with women jail inmates, beating male inmate

Former Fentress County Sheriff Charles S. “Chucky” Cravens was sentenced to two years, nine months in prison Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger of Nashville, reports The Tennessean.

I do take responsibility for my actions,” he told the judge, hands folded behind his Wranglers. “What I done, I done it myself.”

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Sheriff, already under indictment, faces new flap over helping bail-bondsman wife in multi-state manhunt

Start of a Times Free Press report on Sunday:

In one epic April weekend, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson threatened a group of inmates for talking trash about his bail-bondsman wife; embroiled more than a dozen law officers in a multistate manhunt for one of her bail skips; and pulled a gun on a motorist in Georgia, where he has no authority — all with his wife and another bondsman riding along in his official sheriff’s vehicle.

The episode lends weight to complaints from the Bradley County bail bonding community of a thumb on the scales in favor of the sheriff’s wife, Tenille Watson. It also echoes allegations of wrongdoing by Sheriff Watson forwarded last year to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

That TBI investigation resulted in Watson being indicted on six felony counts of using forged or altered vehicle titles in connection with his sideline business as a used-car dealer. Watson was booked July 21. No court date had been set in that case as of Friday. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, local attorneys asked to review documents and videos related to Watson’s Easter weekend activities say he could have opened himself up to liability ranging from civil rights violations to kidnapping and aggravated assault.

The Times Free Press sent Watson a detailed list of questions Thursday morning about his activities that weekend and asked for his comment. He did not respond.

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson facing criminal charges

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, a former state legislator, has been charged with forgery and booked at the county jail he oversees. He was freed on $30,000 bail after being booked at the Bradley County Jail, according to media reports.

From the Times Free Press:

The charges — six counts of knowingly holding or using forged or falsified car titles — arise from a Times Free Press investigation published in December into Watson’s unlicensed used car sales.

The charges are Class E felonies, each punishable by one to six years in prison and fines of up to $3,000.

None of the charges brought Wednesday by the Bradley County grand jury relate to any other allegations of misconduct by Watson that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been looking into for 13 months. The special prosecutor in the case, 4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, did not reply Friday when asked whether the investigation is over or if more charges are possible.

Watson, a four-term state legislator and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, did not appear publicly after being booked.

In a statement released through his attorney, James F. Logan Jr., the sheriff said he has cooperated fully with the TBI and other agencies in the probe of what he called “accusations from some who desire to have more control over county government and the operations of the Sheriff’s Office.”

Watson said Bradley County residents and his employees can be assured the sheriff’s office will “continue to provide the best services possible to insure [sic] the safety and property of all citizens and visitors.”

…”It’s an incredibly sad event” for the sheriff to be booked into his own jail, Logan said, adding that Watson “wants justice.”

 

Note: Watson is the fourth Tennessee sheriff to face criminal charges in the past year or so. The others, now former sheriffs who were accused of misconduct while in office, were Gibson County Sheriff Chuck Arnold, Fentress County Sheriff Chucky Cravens and Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold. They have all pleaded guilty to some charges.

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