Gatlinburg detective files $300,000 defamation lawsuit against Neal Pinkston

Detective Rodney Burns of the Gatlinburg Police Department is sworn in as a witness before Judge Robert Philyaw during a preliminary hearing for the Ooltewah High School basketball coaches and the school's athletic director in Hamilton County Juvenile Court on Monday.
photo District Attorney General Neal Pinkston

Rodney Burns, a detective with the Gatlinburg, Tenn., police department, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Neal Pinkston, Hamilton County's district attorney general, for publicly accusing Burns of perjury after the detective's testimony in the Ooltewah rape case.

An attorney for Burns in February called allegations that the officer may have spoken untruthfully during a hearing in the Ooltewah basketball rape case "baseless" and "reckless."

In a lawsuit seeking $300,000 in damages filed with the Tennessee Division of Claims Administration, Burns said he has suffered damage to his reputation, his active cases have been postponed and he has been ridiculed by the public and media outlets.

Burns