KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Audio recordings obtained by 10News cast light on how Knoxville Police Department supervisors--including a deputy chief--responded after receiving an anonymous letter about a sergeant's inappropriate conduct during roll call.
The audio, obtained in connection with a formal complaint filed at KPD, shows mixed messages from Deputy Chief Kenny Miller.
"You motivate your district the way you see fit. And use your style and I'm okay with that as long as we head in the right direction," Miller said to Sergeant Bobby Maxwell in a recording from a June 20 meeting which also included Captain Anthony Willis and Lieutenant Travis Brasfield.
After Maxwell leaves the room, Miller told Willis and Brasfield "we want the behavior to stop immediately."
"I'm hoping as long as the behavior has change, that it's not repeated, that it's done, that this goes away. That's my desire," Miller said.
On Wednesday, WBIR reported about a video that showed Maxwell describing in vulgar and offensive terms how a male officer could have oral sex with a female. On the video he could be heard using terms like "choke job" and "pearl necklace".
Maxwell abruptly retired July 1 after Brasfield filed a complaint on June 21 seeking an internal investigation.
In the June 20 recording, Maxwell apologized to his superiors, tells them he is a "good man," but "rough around the edges."
"Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not the eloquent, softspoken, tender guy," Maxwell said in the recording.
"I've used some strong language to make strong points," he can be heard saying.
But Maxwell said his officers in roll call understand.
"They seem to receive it like men, they seem to receive it well," he said.
On the recording, the KPD supervisors also speculate--without naming names--who may have written the anonymous letter. Maxwell offers his opinion that the writer was not someone on his squad.
"Some whippersnapper got butthurt... that's what it boils down to," Maxwell said in the recording.
In the recording, Miller tells Willis and Brasfield that he is worried a video of inappropriate language in roll call might exist--and he's worried who might obtain it.
"They go to the damn Sentinel and WBIR and everyone else," he can be heard saying.
In a press conference Thursday, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief Eve Thomas condemned Maxwell's alleged conduct during roll call.
Thomas described her reaction seeing the video as a "slap in the face."
Rogero said "Anyone that's a decent human being wouldn't agree with those statements."
KPD now has an internal investigation open regarding the allegations.