Ex-officer sues 9th District AG

Lawsuit alleges district attorney overstepped

By Bob Fowler knoxnews.com

A former Rockwood police officer investigated for an alleged kidnapping has sued the 9th District Attorney General, contending he was pressured into quitting after the DA schemed to get him fired.

The Roane County Circuit Court lawsuit by John C. Evans asserts DA Russell Johnson overstepped his authority by urging he be fired and saying he should be banned from law enforcement.

“My job was unjustly taken from me without a reason,” said Evans. “I was robbed of my career.”

Evans said he was forced to resign in July 2008.

He was under investigation then by the DA’s office for allegedly using his police badge and gun to force a man into a private vehicle for questioning by Evans’ father about a truck stolen from a body shop.

Officer Evans was off-duty and was accompanied by a Harriman reserve police officer, Jajuan Hamilton, and a Marine reservist, according to the DA’s file on the case.

When Evans confronted the suspected thief, he kept his hand on his firearm, according to the suspect’s statement.

The man filed a complaint about the incident, saying he was forced into the vehicle. But Evans’ father, John Evans, said the man later admitted he went willingly to his car repair shop.

The man was later released and filed a report about the July 3, 2008, incident.

Several days later, Johnson wrote the attorney for both the elder Evans and his son. The DA in the letter stated he was recommending that John C. Evans be “terminated immediately for his actions.”

Several people helped the younger Evans “over some huge hurdles” to become a law enforcement officer, the DA wrote.

“He has effectively ruined his chances of continuing in that career, at least in the Ninth Judicial District,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson in an affidavit stated he told the Evanses’ attorney that the “potential kidnapping charge would not go forward if Mr. Evans left the police force and he did not get in any more trouble.”

Evans signed a statement that he was resigning on July 16, 2008.

“He asked to resign,” said Rockwood Police Chief Bill Stinnett “I said, ‘Sure, I’ll accept the resignation.’ ”

The elder Evans disputed that account.

“He didn’t quit,” he said Monday. “His chief called him and told him he was going to have to let him go.”

No charges were filed over the alleged kidnapping.

The state District Attorney General’s office is representing Johnson in the lawsuit. Its response to the complaint contends Johnson has immunity from such litigation. Johnson on Monday said he could not comment on a pending lawsuit.