Michael Allen Mallicoat
Attorneys for two officers with the Knoxville Police Department say their clients have resigned amid an ongoing investigation into the alleged beating of a handcuffed homeless man in early February.
Attorneys for KPD officers Jeremy Jinnett and Chris Whitfield confirmed their clients will submit their official resignations to the Knoxville Police Department.
Ty Compton, Whitfield, and Jinnett are all under internal and criminal investigation for the alleged beating of Michael Allen Mallicoat on February 9, 2013.
The incident happened on Grainger Avenue in North Knoxville and was witnessed by several neighbors. The three officers under investigation were called to the scene to assist with the arrest of Mallicoat for disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. The officers allegedly beat Mallicoat after he was already handcuffed and subdued.
"Whitfield has resigned," said attorney Tommy Hindman. "Based upon the circumstances, I advised him that would be the best course. I gave him that advice yesterday (Monday). I do not know if his resignation was officially received yesterday or today, but I know he is resigning."
"You can report that Jinnett and Whitfield have resigned," stated Jinnett's attorney Dennis Francis.
Hindman said the state has offered plea deals to the three officers. The exact details of what the deal entails were not revealed.
"The offers themselves relate to the three officers, one of which is Whitfield. I have not physically seen or discussed the offers made to the other two officers," said Hindman. "The state has taken the position, as I understand it, they want to resolve all three matters at one time. Should there not be a consensus agreement, the state will not entertain a piecemeal type of agreement."
Hindman said his client has not decided whether to accept the deal offered by the state.
"I have advised my client to look at all facts of the case, analyze the risk of trial versus plea, and make an independent decision irrespective of what the other parties in case decide," said Hindman.
"There is an offer from DA, but the offer is they all have to take the offer and plead in state court to avoid being indicted by the Feds," said Francis.
Knoxville attorney Jeff Whitt represents officer Ty Compton. Whitt said his client has no plans to resign.
"Mr. Compton enjoys being a police officer and serving this community and would like to continue doing it as long as he is able to do so," said Whitt.
Whitt confirmed Jinnett and Whitfield intend to resign.
"That's my understanding. I have not seen that paperwork, but I understand that is what was done or what they are intending to do," said Whitt.
Whitt said he would not discuss the specifics of any offer from the Knox County District Attorney's Office.
"The latest is there are options that are still under consideration right now and we are looking at all of those," said Whitt. "As for a time frame for making a decision, we would like to make decision as soon as possible. This is something we've been going through for several months."
Whitt said he believes a decision may possibly be made by the end of this week.
Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk refused to verify or comment on the employment status of any of the three officers.
"We cannot confirm or comment on anything because we have an unresolved criminal investigation and have an open internal affairs investigation. Once we're in a position to release some additional information, we will," said DeBusk.
The Knox County District Attorney's Office also would not comment on the case or any potential plea deals.
"We cannot discuss those things. That would be totally improper until it happens," said John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols.
Mallicoat has obtained the legal services of Knoxville attorney Cullen Wojcik. Wojcik told 10News his client has not filed a lawsuit as of yet.
"A lawsuit is most likely going to happen, barring the city offering a settlement," said Wojcik. "Time frame wise, we have been waiting to find out what is happening with the DA's office and the criminal side of the case. The case we bring will most likely be in federal court for violation of civil rights."
According to a press release from KPD in March, Chief David Rausch personally reviewed the video of the arrest of Michael Allen Mallicoat after hearing from a concerned member of the community. Mallicoat was injured during the arrest. A female KPD officer also received minor injuries.
Jinnett has been with KPD since 2002. Compton was hired in 2007. Whitfield joined the force in 2009.
The FBI is monitoring the progress of the internal investigation, but has not commented on the case or any possible federal charges.