Court officer suspended following trial with expensive lunch cos - WSMV Channel 4

Court officer suspended following trial with expensive lunch costs

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A former Court Officer of the Year is now at the center of an internal investigation. Hamilton County Sheriff's Office confirms Lt. Rick Hamrick has been suspended with pay. He's in charge of courthouse security.

Although the Sheriff's Office would not release any details of their internal investigation, several sources close to Channel 3 said part of the controversy surrounds buying too much food.

Some recent lunch expenses inside the Hamilton County Courthouse last week are now under review, and the court officer in charge has been put on paid leave.

In exchange for jury service, jurors are provided lunch during trials. During the course of the three-day murder trial of Nathan Lalone last week, the food tab totaled more than $750. However, several sources said the original bill was a couple hundred dollars higher than that.

During the course of the trial, the jury was treated to food from several local restaurants. On Tuesday close to $200 was spent at Ankhar's, and on Wednesday the tab at Boathouse totaled nearly $400.

Thursday's lunch was brought in from Chicken Salad Chick on Market St. Several witnesses said there were complaints surrounding the over-abundance of food purchased, and that the original total, allegedly split into different receipts after the purchase, came out to nearly $400.

The receipt on file at the clerk's office, totaling $171, was not turned in until Monday. Hamrick was put on paid suspension Friday, the day after the food was served.

The manager of Chicken Salad Chick wouldn't comment on the transaction due to the investigation. But some taxpayers aren't happy about it.

"That's way too much," said Jerry Lackey. "More or less throwing money out the window."

"I know a lot of time and a lot of work goes into that, it's a lot of money, but I don't know," said Josiah Golson.

Hamrick will be suspended with pay until the internal investigation is complete. The Sheriff's Office would not comment or release any details of the ongoing investigation.
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