The state is refusing to prosecute two of its agents who violated the constitutional rights of two Hixson residents by arresting and lying about them in May.
“We are aware of the allegations,” says a spokeswoman for Neal Pinkston, the state’s attorney in Hamilton County. “At this time, we are not going to be taking any further action on either case.”
By David Tulis / AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio
Melydia Clewell refuses to give details after repeated efforts to reach her and Mr. Pinkston in person and by phone.
Officers David Campbell and Jeff Rahn work for Mayor Andy Berke. The police department serves the executive branch, charged with executing laws and ordinance. Their victims have filed departmental complaints that are pending under administrative review. The mayor’s PR person, Marissa Bell, does not return phone calls requesting comment Friday.
The police department Friday also refuses to comment. “We are not making any statements on the [internal affairs] investigations at this time,” says Victor Miller, a detective who is also a spokesman.
The officers who arrested Hanson Melvin and Rochelle Gelpin May 29 acted without probable cause. They committed misdemeanor perjury on their police reports. If they repeated the stories as filed in their police reports, they committed felony perjury in testimony before the grand jury. They violated the Tennessee oppression state and the civil rights intimidation statute. Since they seized two people apart from probable cause, they could be said to have kidnapped them in acting in their personal capacity under color of law.
A grand jury indicted Mr. Melvin, but Mr. Pinkston intervened in his case and dropped it in Judge Don Poole’s division of criminal court. A grand jury refused to indict Mrs. Gelpin and wrote a “no true bill” of state accusations on Sept. 28.
Each of the citizens have the option of bypassing the district attorney to seek justice. Mr. Melvin and Mrs. Gelpin are able to make a personal appearance before the grand jury since they have personal knowledge of a crime, according to David Raybin’s Criminal Practice and Procedure, Revised ed. (Vol. 9-11, Tennessee Practice Series). The grand jurors who hear this testimony report to the full body, which may issue an indictment.
Still, the district attorney has discretion as to which case he will pursue in court by the assigning of a staff prosecutor.
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