Tennessee deputy terminated; TBI investigating

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PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — We are learning new details about a concerning case out of Perry County where a deputy was terminated following inappropriate conduct while on the job. 

The complaint was filed with the department from a resident on Dec. 28, and within just a few hours, investigators found information that supported the claim. Deputy Jonathan Kelly was terminated on Dec. 31.

“This was reported as one incident only, and I’ve never had any type of complaint like this against this particular deputy,” Sheriff Nick Weems explained. 

You may recognize Kelly’s name, he was the officer dragged by a suspect’s vehicle just a few months ago. Kelly worked for the Waynesboro Police Department before joining the sheriff’s office in his hometown of Linden just over a year ago. 

“He lived here and I’ve known him ever since he was a teenager. He has done a lot of good in this community while he worked here, made lots and lots of drug cases. He was one of our drug investigators and he’s done a whole lot of good in our community, but whenever you are looking at something like that, it takes one bad thing to crush all the good that you’ve done and in this case, that’s going to be him. He’s ruined his name and career here,” said Sheriff Weems. 

The sheriff called the case troubling while praising the victim for coming forward. A difficult decision, he said, especially in a small community like theirs. 

“We do we work for you and you know no matter who you are if you are being mistreated or a crime is being committed we want to get to the bottom of that.” 

Sheriff Weems says he is disappointed to learn of the allegations, saying law enforcement is held to a higher standard. 

“It’s very disheartening, very disappointing. We are all human, we all make mistakes, but when you put on this badge and you swear to uphold the constitution you put yourself, you are held to a higher standard and we should all walk and talk and breathe that,” he explained. 

While the sheriff can’t elaborate on the details of the case that now sits in the hand of the TBI, he says it’s important to be transparent.  

“In today’s time, I think it’s very important that we handled it the way we did because there is a disconnect between the community and police officers, and I think if we are going to restore that, that relationship between the community and the police, then we have to handle things like this and do things right,” he explained. 

The TBI says the investigation is ongoing. 

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