Citizens' group files complaint against Rutherford Co. sheriff - WSMV News 4

Citizens' group files complaint against Rutherford Co. sheriff

Posted: Updated: Oct 16, 2015 07:02 PM
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold is now the focus of an official investigation.

A citizens' group filed a formal complaint with the county, citing the Channel 4 I-Team's investigation.

For the last two weeks, the I-Team has been digging into questionable dealings at the Rutherford County Jail. The I-Team uncovered the jail was selling electronic cigarettes to its inmates without disclosing the company is owned by Arnold's relatives and his chief deputy of administration, Joe Russell.

Russell and the sheriff's relatives also set up a for-profit company to sell jail snacks to inmates.

"Icing on the cake was the JailCigs and jail snack controversy," Murfreesboro resident Joe Liggett said.

Liggett said he and a small group of citizens decided to file an official ethics complaint. One exhibit in the complaint is the I-Team's stories.

"It was no bid, his family is making money," Liggett said. "It's very under the table."

The I-Team's investigation also found more than $10,000 worth of stun guns bought without contracts or bids.

In another no-bid contract, the sheriff had electronic tablets installed in inmate pods. They pay to use them and the sheriff's office gets a cut.

"The citizens of Rutherford County deserve better," Liggett said.

Liggett said his group has asked Arnold to resign, but he refused. So they will ask county officials to investigate in a meeting for Thursday.

"He thinks he's above the law," Liggett said. "I think he's met his match."

It's not clear what power the ethics committee has over the sheriff. Arnold is already under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the state's comptroller office.

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