Police Chief: Officer Accused Of Choking Civilian Was Disciplined - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Police Chief: Officer Accused Of Choking Civilian Was Disciplined

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Mount Juliet Cpl. Bill Cosby clutching James Anders' neck. Mount Juliet Cpl. Bill Cosby clutching James Anders' neck.
Mount Juliet Cpl. Bill Cosby Mount Juliet Cpl. Bill Cosby
Mount Juliet Police Chief Andy Garrett Mount Juliet Police Chief Andy Garrett
General Sessions Judge Barry Tatum General Sessions Judge Barry Tatum

MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. - A Midstate man said a police officer nearly choked him to death during a traffic stop.

The incident was caught on tape.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating how Mount Juliet Cpl. Bill Cosby interacted with James Anders, Jr.

Cosby stopped the 26-year-old Wilson County man in April.

Cosby suspected Anders hid marijuana in his mouth. The officer used a vascular restraint technique to keep Anders from swallowing.

On the video recorded inside Cosby's patrol car, Cosby said he smelled marijuana and handcuffed Anders and his passenger.

The video also showed the officer putting his hands around Anders' neck. He applied pressure and told Anders to stick out his tongue. This happened for nearly two minutes before Anders lost consciousness.

Photographs released by Anders' attorney showed injuries he sustained when he fell to the pavement.

Cosby didn't find any marijuana in Ander's mouth. Anders passed a drug test the next day.

A small bag of pot was found in his car and Anders was arrested for simple possession and resisting arrest.

After the district attorney saw the video, the charges were dropped.

Anders is expected to file a lawsuit in federal court later this month.

Cosby is still on the job.

After viewing the tape, General Sessions Judge Barry Tatum dismissed all Cosby's cases. He called what Cosby did inexcusable and said Cosby is no longer welcome in his court.  In essence, any tickets he writes now are meaningless. The judge will dismiss them.

Anders' attorney said there's no excuse for strangling a man helpless and handcuffed.

"Clearly his constitutional rights were violated. He was choked," said Garry Vandever, Anders' attorney.

Vandever said Anders is fine but he still upset over what happened.

Anders is expected to file a lawsuit in federal court later this month.

Andy Garrett was sworn in as the new police chief Monday night.

"I have viewed the tape. I wasn't on board when this happened," he said. "It is an incident that's been addressed internally through training and discipline with the police officer. Any further investigation that's going to be done by an outside agency will be referred to the city attorney," said Garrett, a 25-year Metro Police Department veteran who recently commanded the force's Central Precinct.

He succeeds former Mount Juliet Police Chief Ted Floyd who retired several months ago.

In a letter sent to the new police chief and obtained by NewsChannel 5, Tatum said he's "dismissing all cases Corporal Cosby has pending" in his court.

Tatum also indicated that he's "dismissing any (future) cases he attempts to bring."

Tatum said Cosby has "cast a permanent cloud over law enforcement and the judicial system."

"We trust that an officer has to have the type of demeanor that when someone is treating them badly, spitting on them, trying to hit them, that that officer will have restraint in his actions toward that person," said Wilson County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Hamilton.

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