Athens, Tennessee, officer gets her head smashed into the ground by fleeing suspect

Athens, Tennessee, officer gets her head smashed into the ground by fleeing suspect

Athens police officer sustains facial injuries in attack

May 21st, 2018 by Ben Benton in Breaking News

This story was updated May 21, 2018, at 10:49 p.m.

A longtime Athens, Tennessee, police officer sustained facial injuries last week after a man fleeing from police attacked her and beat her head against the ground.

Athens patrol officer Jackie Holmes was treated for injuries sustained in the attack that occurred last Tuesday afternoon, according to a news release from the Athens city manager's office.

Police Chief Clifton Couch said in the release that Holmes and fellow officer Justin Weir were dispatched to an area of Palos Street in reference to a man, later identified as 27-year-old Jesse Moses, who reportedly had been chasing his parents on the street in a vehicle.

Couch said as Weir arrived on the scene, he spotted a car fitting the description of the one involved in the chase.

When Weir got in sight of the vehicle, the driver fled, going the wrong way down a one-way street, the chief said. When Weir caught up, the car had been abandoned.

Not long after, Holmes arrived in the area and found Moses "hiding in some bushes," Couch said. "When she attempted to detain him, Mr. Moses attacked her."

Couch said witnesses to the attack said Moses "smashed the officer's head into the ground during the altercation," but Officer Holmes was able to radio for help.

Weir approached the scene of the attack, but Moses ran away.

"He was quickly taken into custody by Officer Weir," Couch said. "During the investigation, officers discovered that Mr. Moses was violating an order of protection that prohibited him from being around his parents."

Police also found that Moses throughout the incident was in the company of a 15-year-old girl later discovered to be a runaway from another county, officials said.

McMinn County Jail records show Moses is facing charges of assault, two counts of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, evading arrest, resisting stop, frisk and halt orders, driving on a suspended license, two counts of violation of an order of protection and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Jail records also show Moses has been arrested and released from the local jail 74 times since 2009. There is no indication in jail records of what the charges were each time or whether those arrests led to convictions.

The police chief said the incident shows the dangers that come with the job.

"Unfortunately, it is not unusual for suspects to resist when officers take them into custody," Couch said.

"This is a reality that officers live with," he said. "I commend these officers for the courage and restraint that they showed in this situation. We are all obviously glad that this man was taken into custody, and we pray for Officer Holmes' speedy recovery."

Holmes has worked for the city of Athens since 1989, all but about two years as a police officer, though she did work a couple of years as a dispatcher, her supervisor Sgt. Steven Thomas said Monday. She is still recovering at home, he said.

Meanwhile, Moses remains behind bars on $118,500 bond, jail records state.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at