Former KPD chief regrets courtesy calls to Butch Jones amid rape investigation
According to an investigation by Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5, the former chief of the Knoxville Police Department
involving former University of Tennessee football players.
David Rausch, now the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that 'courtesy calls' made to then Coach Butch Jones tipped off suspects about the investigation before detectives were able to talk with them.
"What I learned more than anything is just because something has been done the way it's always done doesn't mean it's always the right thing," Rausch said in a broad interview with NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams were acquitted of all charges against them.
In March of 2016, WVLT News obtained phone records showing that University of Tennessee Head Football Coach Butch Jones made a call to then Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch on November 16, 2014, the same day former U.T. players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams were accused of rape.
In 2016, Rausch
that making 'courtesy calls' wasn't an uncommon practice. "When we investigate an alleged crime involving an athlete at UT, as a professional courtesy, our long standing practice has been that we alert the head Coach and staff. At no time is any information shared with the university that would hinder or jeopardize any investigation. The purpose of the notification is due to the scrutiny these events bring to allow appropriate time to prepare responses to the various interests. Our paramount concern at KPD is to the victims and their families and to assure them that we will utilize every resource available to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation. That is our commitment to all citizens that we serve."
"Initially, I didn't know what the big deal was," Rausch told NewsChannel 5 Investigates. He went on to add that he doesn't believe the calls impacted the case.
"The call that I made was premature, I get that," Rausch said in an interview with NewsChannel 5 Investigates. "If I had the chance to redo it today, I wouldn't have made it as prematurely as I did."
NewsChannel 5 shared