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Before assault on inmate, officer directed that body camera be turned off

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A former Westmoreland police officer repeatedly assaulted an inmate in her custody after directing a fellow officer to turn off her body camera, a News4 investigation found.

Former Westmoreland officer Amanda Wolfe pleaded guilty to assault late last year after being charged in August.

Body camera footage and TBI interviews reveals a whistle-blower - a fellow officer - exposed the crime.

On Aug. 7, Wolfe pulled over Marley Colburn and his wife during a traffic stop on Old Highway 52 East in Westmoreland.

Then-part-time Westmoreland officer Elizabeth Lehner’s body camera was recording as she arrived to assist.

According to the video and later interviews, Wolfe began to raise questions about the validity of the birthdate that Colburn provided.

As he stepped out of the vehicle, he immediately slammed the door and took off running.

Lehner’s body camera captured the intense chase that came to an end when Colburn stopped in a field and laid down at her command.

Lehner later explained to the TBI that Wolfe had broken away from the chase to get her K9 officer.

The footage shows Colburn unmoving as Wolfe and her K9 approach, with Wolfe then kneeling on top of the suspect and asking for Lehner’s cuffs.

The footage also shows Wolfe is very displeased.

“Give me your f****** hands,” Wolfe can be heard saying to Colburn. “Give me your God d*** hands. I will let my f****** dog tear your f****** a** up.”

Twenty-one seconds after Wolfe makes her last command, she can be seen turning to Lehner, and the camera is turned off.

In her interview with the TBI, Lehner claimed that Wolfe instructed her to turn off her body camera.

“I could tell she said, ‘Turn your body camera off.’ You can't hear it. You can see her mouthing it,” Lehner said. “Never crossed my mind what she would do next.”

MUG - Amanda Wolfe - 8/27/19

Amanda Lynn Wolfe has been charged with assault by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. (Photo: TBI/Sumner County Sheriff's Office)

In interviews with TBI agents, both Lehner and Colburn describe what happened when the camera was turned off.

“She was beating me in the back - back of the head - shoulders and stuff. Just waylaying out. Like I pissed her off. Just going to town on me,” Colburn said.

“Like over and over and over - and she would pause, and then over and over,” Lehner said.

Lehner then went on to describe how Colburn told officers that arrived on the scene that he had been beaten by a female officer.

Westmoreland Police Chief Ray Amalfitano confirmed to News4 Investigates that Lehner came to him with her concerns about the assault.

After consulting with the Westmoreland mayor, Amalfitano said he alerted district attorney Ray Whitley, who called in the TBI.

In her interview with the TBI, Lehner explained her horror at seeing the assault.

“This man did nothing wrong other than run. Not once did he show us aggression. I was pretty much angry the rest of the night,” Lehner said.

In her interview with the TBI, Wolfe admitted to being “blindsided” by the investigation in to her actions, and said she had to use defensive techniques because she claimed Colburn was trying to stand up while she was kneeling on him.

Wolfe also said that she saw, at one point, Colburn fumble with his pocket, leading her to suspect that he may have a weapon.

“To me I feel like I was justified in order to keep us safe with the unknown fact if he had a weapon,” Wolfe said.

After the TBI investigation, Wolfe was charged with assault and later pleaded guilty to the crime.

“It would not have been right to let this go,” said Whitley.

Whitely also praised Lehner’s difficult decision of having to expose the actions of a fellow officer.

“That's what we would hope all of our officers would do: do the right thing,” Whitley said.

News4 Investigates reached out to Lehner and Wolfe for comment. Lehner did not respond. Wolfe indicated she would speak with her attorney, but we have yet to hear from her.

Previous Coverage:

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Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

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