'We will take action' says Rogero about KPD misconduct allegations

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Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas and Mayor Madeline Rogero addressed allegations of misconduct by KPD Officers. / Source: (WVLT)

Mayor Madeline Rogero and Chief of Police Eve Thomas addressed the media amid allegations of misconduct against certain KPD officers Thursday afternoon.

KPD's Internal Affairs Unit is investigating claims that a sergeant made comments perceived as disparaging to women and that his actions were not properly addressed by his superiors. The mayor did not disclose the full scope of the investigation.

Video that surfaced online shows Sgt. Bob Maxwell drawing what appears to be a woman on her knees as he described a sex act in explicit detail, including instructions on how to force violent oral sex onto a woman.

The video appears to have been taken during an organized police meeting.

"I was stunned, I was horrified, I was deeply embarrassed," said Thomas during a press conference. The police chief said she has never encountered anything similar throughout her career. When asked if she thought KPD had a bigger problem she responded, "I absolutely do not think we have a culture problem."

Thomas said the department usually does not offer information on internal investigations, but she wanted the public to know this issue is being addressed.

"I need to make it clear, this is not indicative of the men and women who proudly serve our community every day. I don't want people to think that it is and that we're hiding behind it," said Thomas.

Mayor Rogero said, "We know [this type of behavior] exists in the world. It's very disappointing, it's very disturbing, and it is offensive, but we live in the reality of this is what happens, so we will take action."

"It's not just being a woman mayor; it's being a decent human being. Anybody that's a decent human being would not agree with the alleged statements that were made," said Rogero.

Officials acknowledged Maxwell abruptly retired after the video came to light.

WVLT News is working to learn more about the specific nature of the alleged misconduct, which officials said they first learned about around June 20.

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