KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Seeking sex, an off-duty Knoxville Police Department officer drove to Cookeville, showed up at a 20-year-old student's apartment and quickly found himself in a world of trouble.
Before the night was over Officer Tyriq Campbell, 24, would be accused of blackmail, hurl himself through a second-floor window, hand five cellphones over to Cookeville police and catch a ride to the hospital in an ambulance.
He'd also offer various and sometimes conflicting details to authorities about what he was doing a hundred miles from Knoxville and how he ended up there, records show. Records portray it as a Snapchat hook-up gone very wrong.
The Cookeville Police Department deemed the March 16 incident "odd and unusual." But, after a review, it's filed no charges.
Knoxville police administrators knew about Campbell's trip hours after it happened. So far the department hasn't opened an internal affairs investigation.
Defense attorney Don Bosch represents the young officer. Bosch said his client was a victim who did nothing wrong.
"We have been informed that the criminal matter in Cookeville has been closed. We have voluntarily cooperated with the Cookeville Police Department throughout their investigation," Bosch told WBIR in a statement.
"We are unaware currently of any review that the Office of Professional Standards is undertaking, but stand ready to answer any questions they have in the future. As it relates to the incident in Cookeville, this had nothing to do with my client’s duties as a KPD officer, and he was a victim in this situation."
KPD spokesman Scott Erland echoed Bosch in observing that what happened to Campbell took place while he was out of town and out of uniform.
"The incident in question occurred while Tyriq was off duty outside of our jurisdiction and has been under investigation by the Cookeville Police Department. We do not conduct administrative investigations that run completely parallel to active criminal investigations," Erland wrote.
It could now open an internal review, he said.
After the incident, Campbell was reassigned from patrol to the department's Teleserve unit as he recovered from injuries suffered that March night.
Campbell's conduct may not have led to charges. But veteran officers and attorneys think it sure looks curious.
WBIR reviewed Cookeville Police Department incident reports and supplemental reports about the episode as well as a couple KPD emails.
10News contacted the Cookeville department's criminal investigations captain. He referred 10News to the department's public information officer, who did not respond to a request for comment.
The 20-year-old student and Campbell agree Snapchat played a part in Campbell ending up at the student's apartment. They told Cookeville police different things, however, about exactly who knew who on the social media platform and what was supposed to happen.
WBIR is identifying the student as Z.
On the night of the incident, Z. told police they were expecting someone named "Kels" to show up, records state.
Z. had struck up a private messaging relationship on Snapchat with someone calling themself Kels, or Kelsey, over the course of many months, records state. At some point, Kels obtained a video that showed two people having sex. It's not uncommon on social media for people to trade or share sex videos as a relationship heats up.
To Z., the video that Kels ended up with was sensitive and private. Either it showed them or someone they knew engaged in sex, police records show.
At some point in the Snapchat relationship, Kels suddenly added Campbell to a group chat with Z. and suggested that Z. could have sex with Campbell, Z. told police. But Z. indicated they were interested in having sex with Kels -- not Campbell, according to Z's version of events.
Kels threatened Z. that Kels would distribute the video widely if Z. didn't go along with having sex with Campbell.
A few days before March 16, Z. gave the person known as Kels their address in Cookeville so they could meet up.
Sometime after midnight March 16, instead of Kels, Campbell knocked on Z.'s second-story apartment door. Z. was not pleased.
Campbell said he was there for sex, according to police records. It went downhill from there.
According to Z., they began to argue.
Z. told Campbell they were calling the police. Campbell said he was a Knoxville officer and that he knew some Cookeville officers.
The sex video that Kels had threatened Z. about came up. Z. accused Campbell of blackmail, a report from Cookeville Officer Brandon Lindsey states.
Z. demanded the video. Campbell said he would delete it right there from his cellphone. He also gave Z. the keys to his Chrysler in the parking lot. Campbell had four other cellphones in his car, and Z. could delete the video from them as well, records state.
When Z. came back from the parking lot, Campbell tried to leave. By then friends and roommates were on the scene, according to records.
Neither Z. nor Z's friend would let Campbell leave. The fight turned physical.
Desperate to get away, Campbell ran into Z.'s bedroom and threw himself face first through a window, shattering the glass and landing on the ground below. Z's friend gave chase.
By that point, Cookeville police had arrived to find Z's shirtless friend with Campbell down on the ground, bleeding from numerous cuts and abrasions. A police report stated they were responding to a call "about being harassed on Snapchat."
ACCUSATIONS OF BLACKMAIL
Police summoned an ambulance. And they began to collect statements from Z., Z.'s friend, two roommates and from Campbell.
According to Campbell, the hookup was supposed to be mutual. But then suddenly Z. went into the bedroom and came out with a gun. Campbell said people in the apartment began assaulting him.
"I asked Campbell what kind of firearm did (Z.) bring out. Campbell stated it was a black handgun," Officer Lindsey's report states.
Police got permission from people in the apartment to search it. No gun could be found in plain view in the apartment. And police found no gun when they searched Z.'s bedroom.
After Campbell was put in the ambulance, he asked to speak to Lindsey again.
"I went to the ambulance and Campbell advised he was a cop at Knoxville PD. EMS advised that they needed to get Campbell to the hospital emergency traffic as they did not know if he had any serious injuries."
He also asked police to tow his vehicle, take possession of his phones and his department-issued service weapon.
Police found no other witnesses to the commotion except for a Cookeville woman who happened to be in the complex parking lot waiting on her boyfriend.
"She noticed a black Chrysler circle the apartment complex over ten times," the report states.
About 20 minutes later, she saw Z.'s friend chasing Campbell through the parking lot, arguing, and then saw Campbell fall to the ground.
Cookeville Detective Justin Long also went to the apartment complex to speak to the witnesses for a possible criminal investigation. Z.'s friend said he was familiar with Kels and the sex video and said Z. thought Campbell was trying to blackmail Z. into having sex.
Before fleeing the apartment, Campbell had shown the occupants a cellphone photo of himself in police uniform, the detective wrote.
Long also spoke with Z., who said Kels had threatened through Snapchat for several days to make the sex video public if Z. didn't have sex with Campbell.
Z. recalled that Campbell had observed "that Kels be weird sometimes."
Long also spoke with Campbell, who mentioned Z. pulling a gun on him. He said Z. pointed it at his head.
"Tyriq had some trouble describing the gun," Long's report states.
At first Campbell indicated he wanted to press charges because Z. had a gun. Later, however, he changed his mind about prosecution, Long's report states.
The detective also alerted a Putnam County prosecutor. Campbell told Long he wanted to talk to a KPD supervisor with whom he was close "before he goes forward with this case."
The next day, Campbell appeared at Cookeville PD headquarters and spoke with Detective Sgt. Caleb Arms and Detective Alyssa Coppinger.
He told them he'd been Snapchatting with Z. and that Z. had agreed they could have sex. They'd agreed further, he said, that Campbell could bring condoms and lubricant, the report states.
"The story of events provided by Mr. Campbell seemed odd and unusual," Arms' supplemental report states.
With Campbell's permission, Cookeville police on March 17 extracted the contents of his iPhone.
"The forensic process is ongoing at this time," Arms' supplemental report states.
Detective Long's supplemental report shows Z. provided investigators with screengrabs of some of the group chat between Kels and Campbell.
Kels used the Snapchat name of kelsey_shaee, records show.
The identity of that person remains unclear.
Cookeville authorities emailed KPD administrators on March 20 to let them know the material they'd gathered to date from the incident. It included body cam footage, interviews and the phone exam. A KPD investigator also went over to Cookeville to meet with their personnel, WBIR has learned.
A CLOSER LOOK
KPD, like other police departments, maintains a code of conduct about how officers are to act while on the job and off.
"Employees shall so conduct their public and private lives that the public will regard them as examples of stability, fidelity, and morality," part of the code states.
KPD, like other departments, also stresses the importance to its officers that they tell the truth.
An officer's truthfulness is a basic part of his or her job; officers attest to warrants and they take the stand and testify in cases. If their honesty can be questioned and impeached, they lose credibility in the eyes of the judicial system.
KPD routinely fields complaints and allegations against officers. It has a special unit designed specifically to investigate those complaints.
Complaints can involve a range of categories, from neglect of duty to careless driving to truthfulness to unbecoming conduct.
Sometimes internal investigators find complaints are legitimate and deserve punishment; sometimes they do not.
According to sources, Campbell told a KPD lieutenant after the March incident that he'd been attacked at a gas station.
He told a KPD sergeant by phone that "he had gone to Cookeville to meet up with some friends and a girl. When he arrived in the apartment, one of his friends came out of the bathroom and pistol whipped him. In order to get away from the assailant, he said he jumped out of a window, causing significant injuries to his hands," the sergeant's email to Deputy Chief Brooklyn Sawyers Belk states.
The story "did not make sense," the sergeant found.
KPD will take a look at what happened to see if it merits an internal investigation, Erland indicated to WBIR.
"An administrative investigation has not been opened at this point, but the investigative file will be reviewed by the Office of Professional Standards for any potential violations of department policy," he wrote to 10News.
Knoxville defense attorney T. Scott Jones, among a small group of attorneys who has represented KPD officers through the years, said police officers are called upon to follow a specific code of conduct. They're held to a higher standard than the average citizen because of who they are.
"You are responsible for actually upholding the values that are instilled in you, not only professionally with your department, but morally as a law enforcement officer in the state of Tennessee," he said
He said he's surprised KPD didn't move quickly to look into the case when they became aware of it this spring.
"If we're gonna have Internal Affairs, let's let them investigate everything -- as opposed to just picking and choosing," Jones said.