KPD supervisors resign following investigation

Lt. Brasfield / Source: City of Knoxville

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon held a press conference on March 26 following the conclusion of an internal investigation into allegations of misconduct.

Mayor Kincannon said three police supervisors have resigned, and three supervisors as well as one officer has been disciplined in connection to the incident.

Lieutenant Kenneth Brian Bush resigned Wednesday, Kincannon said, prior to his disciplinary hearing. Kincannon said investigators found he made "contradictory and deceptive statements" during interviews with internal affairs.

Kincannon said the statements were about his knowledge "of a video taken during roll call of Sgt. Bob Maxwell's crude and inappropriate language."

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 appeared to have been taken during an organized police meeting.

Kincannon said Bush "apparently had no role in the inappropriate behavior or the making of the video" but said he didn't report the existence of the video or its contents, which is required by city and KPD policy.

"Officer Tyler Wiggins was suspended without pay for eight days by Chief Eve Thomas for secretly recording the video, a code of conduct violation," a release from the city said.

Officials said Wiggins told internal investigators that he did it as a joke and sent it to Bush. He said, after officials began looking into Maxwell's behavior, he sent the video to former Lt. Travis Brasfield. Maxwell retired last year.

On September 24, 2019, KPD said the investigation, which launched on July 1, "has been delayed and impeded by the refusal of one of the principal witnesses to make himself available for interviews and by declining to provide evidence upon multiple requests from investigators." KPD said the "witness" was Brasfield.

The city said Brasfield a "wide-ranging complaint" but "declined investigators' requests for a follow-up interview and failed to provide documentation regarding his complaint."

The city said neither Brasfield nor Maxwell were subject to any disciplinary actions as they are not currently with the department.

Bush’s actions were a part of the investigation, because he was a KPD employee through Wednesday, March 25, and the investigation had concluded prior to his resignation.

Kincannon "directed Chief Thomas to implement supplemental training in workplace harassment to all KPD employees."

"The IAU findings also found instances in which supervisors took seriously and promptly investigated alleged misdeeds but did not follow the correct procedure for documenting their actions," according to a release from the city.

Thomas "received verbal counseling" from the mayor "for not immediately contacting the City Law Department or the Civil Service Department when an anonymous harassment complaint was filed last June."

"Thomas, who was out of town at the time, directed a Deputy Chief to immediately address the complaint, and the Law Department, Civil Service and IAU were notified a day later. The failure to specifically direct that the complaint be forwarded to the Law and Civil Service departments, and the one-day delay, resulted in a finding of a violation of policy," the release said.

The city said Deputy Chief Kenny Miller received a written reprimand "for failing to document...his handling of a verbal complaint over an alleged sexual relationship involving an officer." Miller failed to submit paperwork within the required time frame.

Capt. Tony Willis received two written letters of reprimand due to his "failure to document to IAU (along with Miller) their handling of a complaint over an officer’s alleged sexual relationship; a singular inappropriate remark about women; and following incorrect protocol in handling a sergeant’s performance evaluation."

Complaints made by Brasfield against Willis were "exonerated, could not sustain or determined to be unfounded."

According to the internal investigators, allegations that an officer withheld evidence in a criminal case, that supervisors "conspired to conceal facts related to discriminatory conduct, and a recanted statement by a drunken woman of sexual misconduct," were reviewed and dismissed.

Copyright 2020 WVLT News. All rights reserved.