NewsNewsChannel 5 Investigates


Investigation into beating and law enforcement cover-up nearly finished

Arrested Beating Image 1.jpg
Posted at 3:39 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 18:15:23-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WTVF) — A brutal beating and allegations of a cover-up have led to calls for a special prosecutor in a case involving two Lawrence County deputies.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates first reported the FBI is investigating two Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies for excessive use of force after they arrested a 62-year-old man more than a year ago.

A former prosecutor in District Attorney General Brent Cooper's office is also under investigation for tampering with evidence because of allegations she told the deputies to delete cell phone pictures they took after the arrest.

District Attorney Brent Cooper's office is also investigating both deputies and the former prosecutor.

Cooper told NewsChannel 5 Investigates the investigation from his office is almost finished and he will turn the findings over to an outside prosecutor who will decide whether to file criminal charges.

Pictures show the condition of 62-year-old Charles Mike Jones after his arrest in October 2020.

Lawrence County deputies Zach Furguson and Eric Caperton are under investigation for excessive use of force after arresting Jones on a rural road near the Lawrence and Giles County line.

The attorney representing Jones has filed a motion to disqualify District Attorney Cooper from prosecuting Jones on drug charges.

A Giles County judge will hear that motion on Tuesday.

The motion claims Cooper cannot be impartial because his office is involved in investigating the two deputies as well as a former prosecutor in his office.

"It's not proper for him to investigate his own office and Mr. Jones," said defense attorney Andrew Nutt.

His motion calls for a judge to assign an outside prosecutor to oversee the drug case against Jones.

The FBI and Cooper's office are also investigating whether former prosecutor Emily Crafton tampered with evidence — when she told the deputies to destroy cell phone pictures they took of Jones right after his arrest.

"Those pictures depicted Mike after the incident, blood in the road, a picture of Mike's face it was already swelled and bruised," Nutt said.

Cooper fired Crafton for "unsatisfactory job performance" days after he learned about the excessive force allegations.

Nutt said the investigation has gone on way too long.

"This happened in October of last year and here we are still no charges," Nutt said.

Cooper said the investigation is now in its final stages.

He said he will ask an outside prosecutor to review the findings and decide whether to file criminal charges.