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Decade of Records Document (Cleveland Tennessee) Police Misconduct

In Government on December 14, 2011 at 8:18 AM

I am going to only report this with very little commentary because of the sensitive nature of these happenings!

I find it interesting that local papers are noticing that the City Council and City Manager Janice Casteel have not acted pro or con on this issue!

A newspaper choosing to chew up on the council and City Manager for not acting! Hey, I think I like it…….alot!

Please read the banner article below calling on our council and city manager to act one way or another! The problem is and I think the council realizes it , is if they lean one way or another, it may backfire on them and cause some great distress downtown among close circles that may or may not be directly involved!

This may be fun to watch! Watching our elected leaders squirm a little while being held to a standard by the local news media!

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/16679108/article-City-Council-should-act?instance=most_recommended

Additional note! Seeing the Mayor Rowland and City Councilmen supporting the Chief on the front page of the Banner does not surprise me especially after the local media scolded them and called them out for not supporting the Chief publicly.

I do not have a personal beef with the Chief and I don’t know him personally and he may be a great guy and the way everyone has rallied to him to support him but with that said one thing seems very odd!

I don’t see anyone supporting the children or laying down blanket endorsements for the children! The children are the losers in this dilemma. I have not heard the local media, the Mayors or the Council say one thing in support of the children!

Lest I need to remind you, many children, not consenting adults, but little girls, someone’s babies, raped, drugged and molested! Sure the Chief didn’t participate in these children’s abuse but it happened under his watch for 10 to 12 years and someone must stand in the gap for the children!

These children still exist! They still must attempt to put their lives together as adults with their own way of coping!

There was a day when the child abuse in any form was not pushed aside so easily! Perhaps we are further down that road to collapse than first thought!

The article below is from officer.com by a reporter that I believe currently works or used to write for the Times Free Press!

December 12, 2011
Decade of Records Documents Tenn. Police Misconduct
Judy Walton, Staff Writer
Cleveland police have said there was “no proof” that officers in 2008 were abusing prescription pills and having sex with underage girls before an investigation began late in the year.

But police department records show that one of the Cleveland officers now serving a prison term for two statutory rapes in 2008 and 2009 was known to be dallying with a teenage girl 10 years ago.

Files also document substance abuse by the officer, Nathan Thomas, in 2005 and 2007.

Another officer involved in the 2008 investigation, Dennis Hughes, was investigated twice in late 2007 for domestic altercations and harassing phone calls to a former girlfriend. The file notes that Hughes was intoxicated both times and when investigators came to question him.

Thomas never was disciplined beyond counseling. Hughes was given three days off for harassment, records show. Hughes later told TBI investigators that he had been addicted to hydrocodone pills since 2006, and Thomas confessed to pill addiction.

A third officer, Lt. Jeremy Noble, who was not involved in the 2008 case, was named in 2003 and 2004 reports saying he tried to date students while working as a school resource officer at Cleveland High School; that he left campus with a girl at least three times; and that he propositioned a Lee University student.

In 2009, Noble was demoted and suspended without pay after he confessed to having three sexual affairs while on duty.

Cleveland city officials, including City Manager Janice Casteel and Mayor Tom Rowland, have not returned calls seeking comment over almost two weeks.

IN THE BEGINNING

Such activities by Cleveland officers returned to public attention in November, when Assistant Police Chief Gary Hicks testified that officers were warned in May 2008 against “dating minors, porn on city-owned phones, consumption of alcoholic beverages while off-duty, snorting crushed pills [and] oral sex in public” and other misbehavior, according to a memo on Cleveland Police Department stationery.

Hicks was testifying in a lawsuit filed by a Cleveland detective who had been fired.

Police Chief Wes Snyder said that allegations about such activities weren’t specific enough to investigate the officers’ conduct.

But in November 2008, Hughes accidentally shot another officer in the hand and the ensuing investigation uncovered prescription pill abuse. In January 2008, another investigation began when a 15-year-old runaway was found with Hughes and told police that two other teen girls were involved with the adult police officers.

Thomas pleaded guilty to having sex with 14- and 16-year-old girls as well as drug and forgery charges. Hughes pleaded guilty to statutory rape and aggravated assault.

When the mother of the 15-year-old tried to draw attention to Hughes’ conduct in May 2008, her complaint was not written down or investigated, which department policy requires.

“We teach people to trust teachers and trust law enforcement, and when they violate that trust, what do you do?” the mother said in an interview last week. Her name is not being revealed to protect her daughter’s identity.

Snyder said last week his office “acted appropriately and transparently” in the 2008 investigation.

Asked if his officers did everything they were required to do under department policy and their oaths as police officers, Snyder said in an email: “If the young ladies [sic] mother wants to file a complaint on them, I will review it and deal with it transparently and within the Cities [sic] policy and state law.”

THOMAS

Police records provided to the Times Free Press listed only two incidents for Hughes, both related to domestic incidents with a former girlfriend.

Four internal charges were brought against Thomas in August 2001, after a Cleveland woman said he had been dating her and giving her alcohol since 1999 when she was 18 and he was 28. According to police records, the girl broke off the relationship with the married Thomas when she caught him with yet another woman.

One count, conduct unbecoming an officer, was sustained, but nothing in the documents provided under the state’s Open Records Law show Thomas being given any punishment.

He was reprimanded in December 2004 after police found him at home when he was supposed to be working. In February 2005, an internal investigation noted he was coming to work late and leaving early. Confronted with suspicions of alcohol abuse, Thomas confessed and said he would handle the problem.

In June 2007, his file shows a counseling session with Snyder and noting that domestic incidents at his home required police response five times since 2001.

Snyder wrote that “I informed Thomas that I was becoming weary of dealing with his personal problems and that this behavior could not continue. I told him if he could not correct these issues in his personal life more severe disciplinary measures will be taken.”

NOBLE

Files show three incidents for Noble, who was Snyder’s brother-in-law and wasn’t connected to the 2008 investigation into the accidental shooting.

In 2003, Cleveland High School Principal Chuck Rockholt told police that female students allegedly had complained to a school board member that Noble was trying to date girls at the school.

No formal compliant was filed. Schools Superintendent Rick Denning told police he didn’t think the allegations were credible and he wouldn’t reveal the board member’s name.

The same report documents that Noble left the high school campus at least three times with a girl. The report said he took her to a DARE program, to pick up his wife’s car at the mechanic and to observe his wife teaching a class at another school. The girl’s statement wasn’t in the package of records given to the Times Free Press.

On Friday, Snyder said the girl was a baby sitter and no misconduct ever was alleged. Snyder then was the captain over the criminal investigation division and had responsibility for internal affairs investigations.

He said in an email Friday that he didn’t remember whether he or Lt. Ken Simpson investigated the Noble case and there’s no name listed on the internal affairs investigator’s notes.

In 2004, a mother reported to police that Noble propositioned her daughter, a Lee University student. This was one day after Noble reported that the young woman propositioned him while he was interviewing her over a harassment complaint she had filed against a fellow student. No formal complaint was filed.

And in 2009, Noble admitted that he had had three sexual affairs — including one with the wife of a fellow officer — while on duty.

Noble was cited for immoral conduct, dereliction of duty, misuse of city property and falsification of documents. He was reduced in rank from lieutenant to sergeant, given 10 days off without pay, lost use of his city car for 20 days and was required to serve a year on disciplinary probation.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6298.

  1. Thanks for creating a impartial news outlet. The local rag only reports in politically correct terms.

    Like

  2. In all previous articles describing the above incidents their has always been certain names and/or details that were incorrect. This is the FIRST time I have seen someone write about the above topics and actually put the correct details rather than speculations. I have direct first hand knowledge of some of what you wrote about and for once I can feel good about the information given being 100% accurate. Great Job!

    Like

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