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Whitwell Police Chief indicted after joint investigation

James Rodney Easterly

A joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the indictment of the Whitwell Police Chief on multiple charges, including tampering with evidence, theft of property and official misconduct.

At the request of 12th District Attorney General Michael Taylor, on April 28,, 2016, TBI Special Agents joined investigators with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in investigating James “Rodney” Easterly on complaints of theft, controlled substance violations and fraudulent receipt of food assistance within Marion County. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that implicated Easterly in those and other charges, which occurred over several months in 2016.

According to a press release from the TBI, the Marion County Grand Jury returned indictments on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, charging 46-year-old Easterly with Conspiracy to Commit Theft, Possession of a Controlled Substance for Resale, Conspiracy of Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance, Fraudulent Receipt of Food Assistance, Official Misconduct, Theft of Property, Coercion of a Witness, Tampering with or Fabricating Evidence, and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of Attempt to Commit a Dangerous Felony. On Thursday night, Easterly turned himself in at the Marion County Jail, where he was booked.

Easterly’s bond was set at $38,000.

Officials with the City of Whitwell have confirmed that Easterly has been placed on administrative leave without pay, in accordance to the city’s policy. Sargeant Kenneth Seagraves is currently serving as interim police chief for Whitwell until further notice.

Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com for more on this developing story.


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