Shortly after a woman sued a group of Graysville, Tennessee, police officers for arresting her twice on what she claims were phony charges, she was arrested again.
The arrest came after one of the officers presented what the woman's attorney, Robin Flores, argues was perjured testimony to a grand jury to obtain an indictment against her for the same charge that had just been dismissed, according to federal court documents filed late last month.
Graysville is a small town in Rhea County, not far from the Hamilton County border, with a population of just over 1,500 people.
City attorney Aaron Wells said the city had no formal comment, adding that it will respond accordingly if necessary in court. And attorneys for the officers did not respond to a request for comment.
But in earlier responses filed in court, Chief Julie Tanksley has claimed that the woman "wrongfully threw a bloody feminine hygiene pad" at her. The other officers and the city have all denied any wrongdoing.
The woman, who the Times Free Press is not identifying because of the nature of her complaint, was first arrested in December 2018 for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after asking police officers Keith Post and Landon Trew to produce a warrant before arresting her minor nephew, according to the lawsuit.
The charges were dismissed in February 2019.
Just under two months later, Tanksley arrested the woman for domestic assault after claiming to have witnessed an assault between the woman and the woman's mother, the lawsuit claims. The woman's mother has denied the allegation.
Before taking the woman to jail, Tanksley allegedly let her take a shower because the woman was experiencing a menstrual cycle. But Tanksley told the woman she would be watching.
Tanksley then watched the woman "get undressed, watched [her] shower, and watched [her] place a feminine hygiene product into her underwear," the lawsuit states.
Letters from DA Mike Taylor to Graysville city leadersView
The domestic assault charge was dismissed the following month.
Then, in June 2019, a grand jury indicted the woman on one count of disorderly conduct, according to a proposed amended complaint filed late last month. (Attorneys must first ask the judge for permission to amend a lawsuit. In this case, Flores asked to amend the complaint in order to add newly discovered evidence. The proposed new complaint was attached to that motion.)
The woman wasn't arrested until December, not long after seeing Trew shining a flashlight in her parked car and two other officers inexplicably searching her mailboxes, the proposed complaint states.
The disorderly conduct charge was again dismissed in July of this year, and a Rhea County Circuit Court judge ordered the court costs be paid by the state of Tennessee, according to the proposed complaint.
It's the second lawsuit against the city of Graysville and its police officers.
In the other case, also filed by Flores, a man named Gary Doss sued after officers arrested him on what he claimed were warrants that hadn't been approved by a judge. That case has since been settled after Flores found that body-worn camera footage of the incident may have gone missing.
Additionally, Tanksley has previously been indicted in McMinn County, Tennessee, on two counts of extortion after allegedly seizing personal property until the arrestees contributed money to the police department's drug fund.
She was found not guilty of those charges, something the city has cited as its reason for not removing her as chief. But 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor has said his office will no longer prosecute cases in which Tanksley was the charging officer or a witness because her credibility would be "called into serious question."
And while the city has claimed that Taylor has indeed prosecuted Tanksley's cases, Taylor previously told the Times Free Press that wasn't true.
A series of letters — from 2017, 2018 and 2019 — also were attached to the motion to amend the lawsuit. In those letters, Taylor addresses city leaders, repeatedly telling them that his office will not be prosecuting Tanksley's cases.
"It has come to my attention that some confusion or disagreement continues to exist relative to the prosecution of criminal cases in which Chief Tanksley is involved," the 2019 letter reads. " I have made it clear that this office will not prosecute any State Criminal Charges wherein Chief Tanksley is a prosecuting or evidentiary witness.
"This position has not changed and any assertions to the Commission that say such charges are being prosecuted by this office are in error."
Taylor added that no substitute district attorney general would be appointed to handle Tanksley's cases, as had reportedly been suggested to city commissioners.
Contact Rosana Hughes at 423-757-6327, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.