News Article: Corruption in
the Cocke County Sheriff' department link below.
Corrupt County Sheriff's Office Hassles
Veteran with PTSD and Refuses to Acknowledge Wrong Doing.
Marine Cpl James W "Bill" Beason earned
a Purple Heart while serving in An Hoa, Vietnam from 1969-70. Beason suffers from PTSD. His statement follows;
Friday night (July 4th, 2008) as the Super
Late Model race was ending at Newport Speedway I noticed all the emergency vehicles were moving toward the helo pad. (A driver
had been seriously injured). I went down to interview the race winner but, was interrupted by Ron Crane, speedway G. M., so
he could start the fireworks show, which was not scheduled until after the next race.
Lights go off, fireworks start. I walk down
the speedway toward turn four to get a better view when I am approached by someone in the dark wearing a fireman's coat whom
demands I stop the fireworks show, which I had no control over because fireworks are preset on timers. I told him to talk
to a track official who could relay the request to someone up in the tower. I noticed the EMT/fireman was very tense and decided
I needed a witness! I call to Speedway Manager Ron Crane to come over and handle the situation. He is too busy watching the
fireworks. I turn to walk away & the fireman, whom was later identified as Randy Renner, grabs me by the left shoulder
which is a BIG no-no. Never grab a man with PTSD from behind while speaking in a demanding voice! I used my better judgement.
At this point, the EMT/fireman tells me
he is an EMT & if I "did not know that stands for Emergency Management Technican and as of this moment Newport Speedway
was non-functional". He also told me he "was officially in control of everything from that moment on". He continued by telling
me if I refused "to stop the damn fireworks show", he would have me arrested for delaying in the aid of a wounded man". He
also informed me, "we can make the ride downtown very uncomfortable for you". He was disking out all this stupid talk about
the speedway was not setup to handle a crisis situation and making so many threats that I could not even think properly. I
told him I was an employee, not a Newport Speedway track official, to go talk to Crane whom I call for a second time to come
witness what was said. He is too busy shaking hands with several people.
Meanwhile, county deputy Derrick Webb came
over and I asked him to identify the fireman whom had only mumbled his name and won't repeat it. Webb said "Yeah, I know him.
Don't take any shit off him. We run around together, get drunk and raise hell together." He never identifies him. Webb then
noticed Renner was upset & said "lighten up, dude". The deputy then patted the EMT on the back and said, "This is my buddy,
you fuck with him, you fuck with me".
I took my glasses off & asked, "Is that
a threat?" From the look on his face, Webb realizes he just said the wrong thing. I immediately responded out loud, "Uh hummm,
the ol teaming up on the announcer routine, huh?" I put the mic behind my back with the switch turned on hoping the audience
would hear was was being said.
When they realized their voices were going
out over the PA system, they ran back about eight feet from me and yelled, "Turn the fucking microphone off now" Webb then
starts bouncing around like a boxer and asked if I "want some of him?" He said, "You sure looked like you wanted some of me
when you took off your glasses a minute ago". He then grabbed me by the shirt near the throat and said, "Come on motherfucker,
we'll show you not to fuck with the law. We are from Cosby & we have ways to take care of people like you." Realizing
I needed a witness, I call for Crane a third time. By now, my anxiety is building to the point of no return. I actually thought
of grabbing Webb's weapon and unloading it on him. But, realizing he was a punk with a uniform (under the color of the law)
my better judgement prevailed.
By now, both have violated my "free-air-space"
by getting right in my face & telling me Renner was a part time deputy, among a list of other rescue, fire and law enforcement
certificates which I quickly realized made him a man-of-authority, but only in his mind. It was rapidly becoming a tag team
match with Renner & Webb making threatening comments and outright harassment. The two continue intimating me with threats
like "don't mess with us and do not report what was just said or...we have ways to take care of rats, snitchers and your kind,
mister smart-ass". Continuing, they "could stop me whenever I got out in the county" They even threatened my life with a remark
about blowing-up my home. And, if "I did not stop stalling around I was going to jail".
By then, I am very shaken & have decided
it is best to do as they have demanded & make a mental report of their abuse of power for later. So, I informed the audience
that the track was "for the moment shut down until we could get a helicopter in to airlift the injured driver to a hospital".
I continued by doing something I knew was
impossible...I asked for the fireworks technicians to stop the fireworks. I then shut off the mic and started toward the tower,
away from the two so-called law enforcement thugs with a badge.
This was not good enough for Webb &
Renner, they get in my face a again and demand I continue to yell at the fireworks guys, on the mike, until they stop or they
would see that Newport Speedway would be shutdown tonight, next week and if the injured man dies, would never open again.
Suddenly, the speedway lights came back
on and Webb asks if everything is okay and says "it better be" with a nod of "I-got-your-number" look. He then took off running
toward the outside exit.
Finally, Crane comes over and does not ask
me, but tells me "that is about enough out of you, Bill".
After the race, I went home and spent a
sleepless night recalling the fireman and deputy in my face. The incident kept replaying over & over in my mind! I got
out of bed and typed everything to keep the order of events in their historical order.
On Monday, I call Sheriff Claude "Clod" Strange
and report the incident. I told him I had PTSD, to which he laughs and asks what I want him to do. I tell him to suspend the
two deputies until an investigation. He laughs again. I hang up & emailed county mayor Iliff McMahan about the incident
I did get a return email from McMahan the
next day whom informed me that the matter was judicial, not legislative. However, he said he would send my email to county
attorney Fletcher Ervin and a copy to Sheriff Strange and other county commission members.
I checked my phone messages & discovered
a call from Sheriff Strange who appeared shaken by saying, "Bill, this is Claude. I just received a very disturbing
email from Mayor McMahan. Call me back about this very important matter." I did not return his call since he wasn't
helpful to my call the day before.
I called Attorney General Jim Dunn and he
says my civil rights were violated and he would investigate the incident. He recommends I call the FBI which, after the advice
of my VA doctor, I do.
The agent I spoke with was not helpful &
just went through the motions and asked me to email the info on the incident. He did NOT identify himself and only gave me
a bland email address which contained no one's name. I sent the info feeling nothing would be done. Since that time, Dunn
has turned his email off and will not return my phone calls. So far, I have been right about nothing being done.
I have been a citizen of Cocke County most
of my life and have never been in trouble with any law enforcement agency. As a radio deejay, I have performed tons of public
service assistance with the sheriff's and police department over the years on the radio and in public appearances.
I have no arrest records and have never
been in trouble with law enforcement. Now, I have been intimidated, harassed & threatened by a couple of thugs. Cocke
County has a very long history of corruption in it's Sheriff's Department. (see the history on Cocke County below from The
Knoxville New Sentinel).Three months have passed and I have not heard a word from Attorney General Dunn, the FBI, or the sheriffs'
department. My report apparently has been tucked under the rug. On September 29th, 2008 Mayor McMahan FINALLY sent me an email
basically designed to cover his job. (see below) And, upon speaking with county attorney Fletcher Ervin on 9/29/08, I discovered
he had never looked at the first complaint I filed on July 7th. I will not stop until I get a written apology from Strange!
Update: Several local residents have announced their candidacy for Sheriff of Cocke
County. They have asked Beason to help in the campaign to remove Strange from office. Time to get good ole boy "Clod" out
of office.Also, it has been revealed Derrick Webb has committed perjury and lied under oath against his fellow law enforcement
officers. Over the past several years, he has been fired by the Newport Police Department and The Pigeon Forge Police Department.
Can you smell a rat? A dog always returns to it's vomit!
In addition, Randy Renner's father, J E
Renner, served as deputy for Cocke County during the 70s & 80s, the cocaine, chop shop years! Recently, Sheriff "Clod"
Strange asked the Cocke County Legislation Body to give his department an additional $198K for gasoline for 2009. This request
comes after it was revealed "Clod's Crew" uses county patrol cars while working off duty at Newport Speedway and other off
duty jobs. In addition, they wear their uniforms and weapons... direct violation and waste of Cocke County taxpayer's money.
Additionally, Newport Speedway (Ed Surrett
& Ron Crane) refuse to acknowledge the incident ever occurred, continuing to add to the corruption that has engulfed Newport
& Cocke County for decades. Look for a boycott soon on Newport Speedway!
According to a Justice Department report,
one third of all corruption in America is the direct result of law enforcement. That includes attorney generals, attorneys
representing law enforcement, drug task forces and others connected to law enforcement. It's called "Under Color Of The Law"
or hiding behind the badge. In fact, Attorney General Dunn's Drug Task Force has been sued for $10 million plus for
false arrests of a UPS employee and a factory worker!The old adage, power corrupts is very true and getting worse everyday.
Eventually, these thugs have to be held accountable! If not, more vets, PTSD victims and innocent people will continue to
be abused by those entrusted to "serve and protect'.