Squad Car Video Raises Questions About Deputy Conduct
by Nick Beres
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- News Channel 5 obtained an exclusive copy of some controversial squad car video that has raised questions about whether Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputies used excessive force.
The video showed Julian Clemmons' car on fire along the shoulder of I-24. Clemmons said deputies and firefighters arrived and they tried to keep him back away from the car as he tried to salvage some possessions.
The video is not very clear, but shown in slow-motion Clemmons said a deputy suddenly rushed up and punched him in the jaw.
"The officer runs in and tells me to calm down and then he cold cocks me and knocks me to the ground," said Clemmons. He said the deputies then kneed him repeatedly in the back as he lay barely conscious on the pavement.
Clemmons said he didn't do anything to merit a punch in the face and calls the deputies actions a use of excessive force.
"They did nothing wrong," said Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold, who defended his deputies.
Arnold said Clemmons had been drinking and was getting verbally and physically abusive to the firefighters.
"My deputy did not punch him," said Arnold. The sheriff said he believes the video only shows his deputies grabbing Clemmons and putting him to the ground to subdue him for his own safety and that of others.
Clemmons was charged with assault, resisting arrest and DUI. He denies the charges and is considering legal action against the sheriff's department for excessive force.