Trooper terminated after probe

News Sentinel staff

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Highway Patrol has terminated a trooper accused of filing a false complaint against a lieutenant in the Knoxville district.

The state Department of Safety on Monday served Trooper Marty Nix with a "minimum due process letter for termination" following an internal investigation into the false complaint, according to a press release.

The termination is based on six violations of Department of Human Resources and Department of Safety rules and policies, including failure to maintain satisfactory and harmonious relationships with the public and fellow employees," according to the release.

Nix has the right to appeal.

The internal investigation found that Nix made an anonymous phone call to a staff attorney on Feb. 29, alleging a lieutenant had made sexual gestures toward a female employee. The female employee told investigators she had not been sexually harassed.

On March 13, Nix confirmed that he had made the call. On March 20, Nix said another trooper had given him the information about the allegations, according the press release.

A polygraph examination of Nix indicated deception, the release said.

In June Nix filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Safety, which commands THP, and a slew of superiors. The lawsuit accused the agency's commanders of punishing troopers whose politics do not square with theirs and promoting or protecting troubled troopers whose politics suit them.

The lawsuit followed a two-week suspension without pay in October 2007, the result of a series of allegations against Nix, 43, a nine-year veteran of the THP.

The first complaint was filed in May 2007 by a Loudon County lawman who alleged Nix cursed him out after he arrested Nix's brother on misdemeanor charges. Nix denied the allegation.

A month later, then-Knox County Medical Examiner Dr. Sandra Elkins alleged Nix showed up in uniform to collect 54 photos in a death investigation of a friend of his. Nix insists he made it clear he was picking up the photos on behalf of relatives of the victim.

Soon after, THP officers found an envelope of seized cocaine and photographs of a nude woman in Nix's cruiser. He disavowed the photos and deemed his failure to turn in the drugs as an oversight.

Attempts to reach Nix or his attorney were not successful.