East Ridge Police Chief J.R. Reed placed on administrative leave

East Ridge Police Chief J.R. Reed placed on administrative leave

Assistant Chief Stan Allen is now acting chief of police

November 26th, 2018 by Zack Peterson in Breaking News

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / East Ridge Police Chief James Reed answers questions from reporters following the capture of a manhunt suspect at the entrance of Camp Jordan on Thursday, October 4, 2018 in East Ridge, Tennessee. Law enforcement employed the use of K-9 Units, a drone and officers on foot to find the suspect.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

Updated at 8:16 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, with more information.

East Ridge's police chief is facing an internal investigation after being suspended with pay last week. But no city official knew Monday, or would say, what J.R. Reed is accused of doing wrong.

Acting City Manager Kenny Custer placed Reed, a nearly 30-year veteran who was appointed chief in 2014, on administrative leave Wednesday. Custer, who replaced City Manager Scott Miller earlier this month, said in a statement late Monday that it is the city's policy "not to comment while an investigation is pending."

Reed is accused of violating "three or four" policies, according to comments Custer gave to East Ridge News Online. But Custer did not say what those policies were or how long the investigation would take.

Custer said a recent Times Free Press story that included body camera footage of East Ridge officers stunning and choking a handcuffed man who was thrashing during an arrest did not factor into his decision.

Other city leaders didn't seem to know Monday why Reed was suspended.

Councilman Jacky Cagle said he'd heard Reed was suspended, but not why.

"I talked to the new mayor [Brian Williams], and apparently he knows, he's just not letting it out," said Vice Mayor Larry Sewell.

Williams said he did not know — that only Custer would know since city managers preside over personnel issues.

Cagle, Sewell and Williams said separately they didn't know of any past attempts to remove Reed from office.

Earlier this year, 35 members of Reed's roughly 45-person department unionized over concerns that Reed was mismanaging their budget, ignoring their requests for equipment and threatening to punish any officers who went to City Hall with complaints.

In July, Reed told the Times Free Press officers hadn't told him their concerns. That August, he brought an emergency resolution to the council asking for $170,000 in SWAT equipment and another $62,000 for two new crime-suppression vehicles. The money came out of the city's general fund as opposed to the police budget.

Earlier this month, Reed refused to respond to several requests for comment about the Oct. 21 arrest of a 27-year-old man whom officers stunned in the testicles and put in a chokehold when he thrashed, bucked and kicked at them while handcuffed. Critics said the hold was excessive and potentially deadly force.

Reed could not be reached for comment Monday. In the meantime, Assistant Chief Stan Allen will be acting chief of police.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.


Loading...