One deputy fired, two on leave after UT party bust

(WBIR) The Knox County Sheriff's Office fired a deputy and placed two other deputies on administrative leave after photos revealed a deputy used excessive force while busting a party near the University of Tennessee's campus.

The Daily Mail published the series of photos the Sunday morning, claiming it showed a "deputy chocking a student into unconsciousness."

The same day, a twitter account was made asking people to submit their block party stories, pictures and videos (@UTKBlockparty).

The sheriff's office fired Officer Frank Phillips, 47, immediately after an investigation revealed he used excessive force during the incident. The two other deputy seen in the pictures, Ronald Chaperon Jr. and Brandon Gilliam, were placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.

Sheriff J.J. Jones said in a statement that he won't tolerate excessive force and has turned over the case to the Knox County Attorney General's Office.

"In my 34 years of law enforcement experience, excessive force has never been tolerated. After an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, I believe excessive force was used in this incident," said Jones in a statement. "Therefore, Officer Phillips' employment with the Knox County Sheriff's Office is terminated immediately. The investigation will now be turned over to the Knox County Attorney General's Office to determine any further action."

Phillips had been with the sheriff's office since 1992.

WBIR spoke with Phillips Monday. He said he has no comment on the photos, the firing, or what happened at the block party Saturday night.

He started his appeals process on Monday.

During his time with the sheriff's department Phillips worked his way up from a corrections officer with the jail, to a patrol officer. He was eventually promoted to patrol sergeant. But was demoted back to officer after an incident in 2011.

Records show Phillips disobeyed orders from a directive, sending in crews to a home with a possible shooter inside. His ranking officer asked for him to hold his crew, and wait for the SWAT team to arrive.

On the comment sections of some of his evaluations, it read "Officer Phillips makes inappropriate comments to his peers that is not productive to the mission of the KCSO" and "Officer Phillips does not seem to be self motivated, nor function well as a team member."

Phillips was named Officer of Month twice. Once in June of 2002, and another time in October of 2008.

Officials said the student seen in the photos is Jarod Dotson, 21. He was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest. KCSO said he was released from jail on a $500 bond Sunday morning.

University of Tennessee police originally responded to the massive party in the Fort Sanders area late Saturday night. Officers then called the Knoxville Police Department and KCSO for assistance. Officials estimated that about 800 people were at the party.

Party witnesses told authorities people were initially on the lawn but moved into the streets. Knoxville police said when the crowd became unruly, including some people throwing beer bottles, 60 officers responded to clear the streets. In all officials arrested about 15 people.

Original story

Dozens of law enforcement personnel were called in to bust a massive party with hundreds of people in attendance in the Fort Sanders area late Saturday night, according to the Knoxville Police Department.

KPD said the University of Tennessee Police Department received the initial disturbance report and called KPD and the Knox County Sheriff's Office for assistance.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office told 10News they are now investigating photos taken of some officers during the bust.

Early Sunday afternoon, The Daily Mail published a series of photos it claimed showed a "deputy choking a student into unconsciousness."

KCSO told 10News it's seen the photos and are now investigating.

Party witnesses said people were initially on the lawn, but then people moved into the streets.

According to KPD, authorities had been called in to clear the streets when the crowd became unruly, including some throwing beer bottles.

KPD said 60 officers were on scene and about 15 people were arrested.

KPD told 10News it estimated around 800 people were at the party.


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