Bledsoe County Sheriff James "Jimmy" Morris spent a few hours behind bars early Sunday morning after he was arrested at a Dunlap restaurant and charged with disorderly conduct.
The incident happened around 3:45 a.m. at the Huddle House on Rankin Avenue. Store manager Chris Cross told WRCB-TV his employees saw the sheriff get into a fight with several people in a parking lot outside the restaurant.
He said they saw a man hit Morris, and Morris return the punch. Dunlap police, who handled the arrest, have not released the details of the incident and have not said what led officers to charge Morris with disorderly conduct.
The shift supervisor at the Sequatchie County Justice Center refused to release details from the booking report Sunday.
Morris posted a $1,000 bond Sunday morning and was released. He could not be reached for comment. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 21 in General Sessions Court.
Bledsoe County resident Betty Keloy said she's surprised by Morris' arrest but would still vote for him.
"I think he's probably the best sheriff we've ever had," she said, adding the arrest didn't shake her faith in him. "I feel safe with him being sheriff."
But resident Anita Nipper said she's disappointed with Morris.
"I think a sheriff or anybody in political office should carry themselves in a higher esteem," she said. "The people put you in office, and I think you owe the people to live up to their expectations."
Morris isn't the only elected official in Bledsoe County in trouble with the law.
Pikeville Mayor Greg Johnson resigned in September after he was charged with four counts of official misconduct and theft. He was accused of spending as much as $250,000 in city funds for his personal gain.
Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...