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Cleveland Police Chief Dennis Maddux
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Affidavit of Complaint State v. Griggs

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The Cleveland, Tenn., woman told McMinn County officers she was frightened of her husband.

She said that's why she was with his boss -- Cleveland Police Chief Dennis Maddux -- in a car in Calhoun, just over the Bradley County line, on Saturday afternoon: To talk about bruises her husband had inflicted but she hadn't reported.

But when her husband showed up and started taking pictures of the two, she wasn't too scared to jump in his truck, wrestle away his camera and snatch out the memory card, which she then destroyed, according to court records.

Cindy Griggs told McMinn County Deputy Josh Hyde that her husband, Jeff Griggs, bit her fingers as she grabbed for the memory card.

That was the basis for charging Jeff Griggs, a forensic technician in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Cleveland Police Department, with domestic violence, according to the affidavit in McMinn County General Sessions Court.

Griggs was booked Saturday night and released on a $1,000 bond, according to McMinn County Jail officials.

His attorney, James F. Logan Jr., said Sunday he intends to file a motion this morning seeking dismissal of the charges.

Logan called the arrest "a tragedy" brought about by "people whose trust is at issue." Instead, he said, Cindy Griggs admitted in an affidavit to robbery, vandalism and destruction of evidence.

Maddux couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel and police department spokeswoman Sgt. Evie West were tight-lipped when asked Saturday night about the incident and the names of the people involved, which set local law enforcement circles abuzz.

They issued an emailed statement saying only: "We can confirm that a Cleveland Police Department officer was involved in a domestic situation in another county. The McMinn County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation on allegations of a domestic assault involving this officer. This is the only information we are able to release right now."

They wouldn't say Saturday whether there will be an internal investigation, but West said Griggs was on his regular days off and that no action had been taken immediately.

Tennessee law says a police officer who has probable cause to believe someone has committed domestic abuse should make an arrest. The law also says that officers must report allegations of domestic abuse.

Sunday night, West said in an email that Casteel told her neither Cindy Griggs, a technician for Cleveland Utilities who has an office in the police department, nor Maddux had reported prior allegations of domestic abuse by Jeff Griggs.

The Griggses live in the Chestuee community of Bradley County near the Polk County line. Ed Ramsey, who works in administrative services with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, said Sunday there is no record of domestic violence calls to their home.

Hyde's affidavit said he was called to a home on Fifth Street in Calhoun just before 3 p.m. Saturday. The homeowner, Kia Phillips, told him she heard someone yelling for help and saw the struggle between the Griggses in his truck. She let Mrs. Griggs into her house to call the sheriff's office.

"When Mrs. Griggs entered the home she asked if Ms. Phillips had scissors. At the time she was given scissors with which she destroyed the memory card. Ms. Phillips did provide a written statement to these facts," Hyde wrote.

He wrote that Cindy Griggs refused to provide a written statement but said she did not wish to press charges against her husband. Neither Maddux nor Jeff Griggs was there when deputies arrived, Hyde wrote.

Logan said Griggs went to the sheriff's office that night, but Logan found Maddux's conduct odd.

"Isn't it incredible, according to the affidavit, that Maddux -- the chief of police -- would not be available for questioning by McMinn deputies?"

In fact, Maddux wasn't technically the chief on Saturday. His first official day as chief was Sunday -- he's been acting chief since January. And he's the department's third chief in a year.

Maddux replaced David Bishop, who took over in December 2013 but went on medical leave in October. Capt. Mark Gibson acted as interim chief until Maddux was named to the position.

The chief shuffle began with the abrupt retirement of longtime chief Wes Snyder at the end of 2013. Snyder retired after video footage surfaced showing him trysting with a woman not his wife at a warehouse storage unit in Cleveland.

Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416.

This story was updated at 12:35 p.m. The original story said Capt. Mark Bishop acted as interim chief until Dennis Maddux was named to the position. It was, in fact, Capt. Mark Gibson.

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