Fired Knoxville police officer files dispute request

The officer was fired for lying about an investigation into racist behavior, the document states.
The officer was fired for lying about an investigation into racist behavior, the document states.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:35 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Knoxville Police Department officer who was fired in July by the department’s new chief of police filed a dispute request with the Civil Service Merit Board last month, according to documents obtained by WVLT News.

Lt. Michael Earlywine was fired by Chief Paul Noel on July 18 following an investigation into alleged racist behavior that created a hostile working environment among officers in the Knoxville Police Department. Following the investigation, the Internal Affairs Unit determined that Earlywine had intentionally lied about his part in the conflict, specifically about what specifics he remembered about another officer’s complaint.

In the request for review, Earlywine stated that he did not intentionally lie, but rather answered what questions he could to the best of his memory. He also stated that he was not interviewed until more than a year after the incident took place.

Internal Affairs investigators determined that Earlywine was aware that the comments made by former KPD Officer Adam Broome were racist in nature, but during his interviews, he did not confirm that detail. In the request, Earlywine said that he did not know that Broome had made racist comments, specifically when he told another Black officer, “you should know something about being on a slave ship, shouldn’t you?” and “yeah, that’s just like you all asking for reparations; I think it’s stupid.”

Earlywine was fired for violating the department’s honesty code of conduct.

“I told what I remember from my conversations with these officers back in June 20 and 21, 2019,” Earlywine stated in the request. He also asked to be reinstated to his former position at the department.

A KPD spokesperson said that Chief Noel would not be commenting on the request at this time.

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