A Murfreesboro Police officer faces 10 days suspension and one year of disciplinary probation after a lengthy investigation by MPD internal affairs into an arrest made by him in November 2008.
Officer Ray Roberts made an illegal arrest of a local Murfreesboro man, Anthony Defeo, on Nov. 30, 2008, for driving without a license, according to investigative reports filed by MPD Sgt. Harry Haigh and Capt. Anita Flagg.
The arrest was for a misdemeanor that happened out of Robert’s presence and was therefor determined to be illegal by several police department investigators over the course of the 6-month-long investigation into the incident.
Capt. Michael Bowen initially proposed Ray be suspended for one month for the infraction, but a document signed by Murfreesboro Police Chief Glenn Chrisman and Maj. David Hudgens in May 2009 contained a recommendation that Roberts be terminated from the department for lying during the internal investigation into the matter.
But after an appeals process concluded this week, the proposed firing was reduced to suspension and probation by City Manager Rob Lyons. It was found that Roberts did not lie during the investigation into the matter.
“I find that you exceeded your authority when you made a custodial arrest of Mr. Defeo for a misdemeanor not committed in your presence,” Lyons said, adding that Tennessee law is clear on when arrests are appropriate.
Lyons wrote in a report filed Thursday that Roberts was also investigated for suspicion of violating a general order stating that officers should deal truthfully and honorably with others. It was found he did not violate that order.
“The proposed increase in discipline recommended by Captain Bowen and Major Hudgens centered upon their belief that you were not truthful,” Lyons wrote in Robert’s letter of disciplinary action. “It is apparent that due to your strong headed nature, your failure to accept criticism and advice and the manner in which you sequenced your investigation, you created doubt ... about your truthfulness.”
Lyons goes on to tell Roberts that, even though he did not lie, he will have to regain the confidence of his superiors at the Murfreesboro Police Department.