Sumner deputy fired for ethics violation

Dessislava Yankova , Published 5:07 p.m. CT July 5, 2016 | Updated 1:34 p.m. CT July 6, 2016


A Sumner County Sheriff’s deputy has been fired for using his power to interfere with Nashville businessman’s job to serve legal papers to the deputy’s wife.

Deputy Kenneth Samuels was terminated after an internal investigation determined he violated 10 ethics policies. Samuels lied to four colleagues and the businessman, filed a false report, interfered with a legal service, refused to give his name and knowingly had a conflict of interest at work, according to the investigation by Sgt. Keith Bean, who works in the SCSO’s Internal Affairs division.

The investigation took place June 22-July 1 and was released July 5.

The case began after James Grady, owner of Nashville-based Legal Process of Tennessee, said he went to a home in the 1000 block of Peak Drive in Castalian Springs on the evening of June 20 to serve legal debt collection papers to Jamie K. Samuels.

Jamie Samuels attempted to refuse service and called her husband. Deputy Samuels arrived in his patrol car with blue lights flashing. Kenneth Samuels threatened to arrest Grady for trespassing, asked him to leave the residence and tried to scare him, said Grady, who audio recorded the encounter.

Kenneth Samuels told Bean he was embarrassed about the situation, the investigation revealed.

Embarrassment is not an excuse that justifies Samuels’ actions, said Aaron Pickard, chief deputy with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

“I can understand Deputy Samuels’ embarrassment with this situation, however, his false statements to another deputy, his lieutenant, the dispatcher and Sgt. Bean cannot be excused,” Pickard wrote in the investigation. “Police work requires the utmost honesty and candor and is expected from the public. These false statements have forever tainted Deputy Samuels’ credibility. The use of his position to interfere with the service of process is also inexcusable.”

Until the time of his termination, Kenneth Samuels had no infractions in his personnel file.

A review of Samuels’ personnel file showed he joined the SCSO Oct. 6, 2014 after spending nearly six years as a corrections officer at the Sumner County Jail.

The incident 

Deputy Samuels’ supervisor Lt. Chris Tarlecky allowed him to respond to his home on June 20 after his wife said someone was beating on his home’s door. After he cleared the incident, Samuels told Tarlecky he didn’t know who the person (Grady) was looking for but he was from Nashville and at the wrong address.

Samuels had previously called dispatch and said Grady was “serving civil process but was at the wrong address.” After listing to the dispatch call, Bean asked Samuels if he knew who was at the door and why Grady was there. Samuels replied he did not, according to the investigation file.

Bean asked Samuels if he tried to find out who Grady was and Samuels said he didn’t. Bean told Samuels Grady was serving civil papers and asked why a dispatcher would enter such information into the call system. Samuels replied he didn’t know, the investigation showed.

The investigative file revealed that Mrs. Samuels called Bean and said her husband told her Grady was “probably trying to serve her with something.”

During an interview, Bean asked Samuels for a written statement and noticed discrepancies. In the statement, Samuels wrote he asked Grady what was he doing and Grady replied he’s trying to serve “some papers.”  . Bean played Samuels’ call with dispatch, which . Samuels said he did not remember.

Grady said the former deputy bullied and tried to intimidate him.

“I told him what he was doing is illegal, especially with force. He abused his authority for self-gain,” Grady said.

The Sumner County District Attorney’s office does not plan to prosecute the former deputy.

Grady said the sheriff’s office acted swiftly but he’s disappointed the DA’s office will not prosecute, which he feels may determine whether he will continue working with Florida-based JJL Process Corp., on which behalf he was delivering the legal papers. JJL stopped working with him after the incident, Grady said.

JJL Process Corp. spokesman Joey Wilkins declined comment.


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