"Trooper Toby Cameron was suspended for five days without pay for filing an inaccurate police report to the Rutledge Police Department (a violation of department General Order 216-2, Section III. B. 3. a.). Trooper Cameron has served his five-day suspension," department spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said yesterday.
In a Jan. 31, 2013 memorandum, DSHS Commissioner Bill Gibbons said that the department's Internal Investigations Unit determined that Cameron filed "inaccurate and misleading statements."
On Dec. 4, 2012, Rutledge Police Department Chief Richard McGinnis contacted DSHS because of "discrepancies he observed in a police report" that Cameron filed with the Rutledge Police Department. Cameron contacted McGinnis on Dec. 3 to report a "stalking incident" committed by Benny Atkins. Benny E. Atkins is listed as a constable on Grainger County's website.
Trooper Cameron was parked alongside trooper Jason Davis on the southeast corner of the Marathon Market on Rutledge Pike. In the report, Cameron stated that he observed a small, gold pickup truck pull into the market's parking lot. Cameron identified the driver as Atkins and said he exited the vehicle, entered the market, and returned to his vehicle.
Commissioner Gibbons wrote:
You reported that as Atkins was exiting the parking lot, he passed approximately ten (10) feet in front of your patrol car while leaving you no avenue of escape if you so desired. You stated that Atkins appeared angry and stared at you while he was leaving the parking lot. You also stated that you were in fear of not knowing the intent of what just happened to you.
Gibbons said that McGinnis followed up the complaint by obtaining video footage from the market which contradicted Cameron's claims. "At no time did the vehicle operated by Atkins block any avenue for you to leave the parking lot if you so desired. Atkins simply backed from the parking space and exited the parking lot."
Gibbons said that the trooper's actions "potentially" violated state law. "Whether unintentional or intentional, your actions have damaged your credibility and integrity which adversely affects the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security's overall mission. Your action will not be accepted or tolerated."
Cameron was suspended from Feb. 3 to Feb. 9, according to the internal memorandum.
The incident appears to be related to a feud between Atkins and Cameron. According to Grainger Today, Cameron filed a 3.9 million dollar lawsuit against Grainger County and several officials alleging a conspiracy to prevent him from running for sheriff.
According to the newspaper, Atkins was indicted on one count of official misconduct on January 9. Documents obtained by Grainger Today state that Atkins "unlawfully, knowingly, felonious and with the intent to obtain a benefit or harm another, committed an act under the color of office or employment that exceeded the public servant’s official power by viewing, taking or using confidential juvenile court records."