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Caught on Camera: Smyrna firefighter arrested outside Murfreesboro bar

Posted: Updated: Nov 22, 2013 03:42 PM CST
Jerry Mosley, 38, a firefighter in Smyrna, was arrested early Thursday outside Sam's Sports Grill. Jerry Mosley, 38, a firefighter in Smyrna, was arrested early Thursday outside Sam's Sports Grill.
A bystander captured cell phone video of Mosley's arrest. A bystander captured cell phone video of Mosley's arrest.
Sam's Sports Grill is located on Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro. Sam's Sports Grill is located on Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro.
Jerry Mosley, Courtesy: Smyrna Fire Department Jerry Mosley, Courtesy: Smyrna Fire Department

Cell phone video of a Smyrna firefighter's arrest outside a Murfreesboro bar early Thursday morning is raising questions in the Rutherford County community.

Jerry Mosley, 38, was arrested outside Sam's Sports Grill on Old Fort Parkway after officers told him he was too intoxicated and needed to leave.

According to the arrest report, the officers witnessed Mosley, who had red, watery eyes and was unsteady on his feet, pull down his pants and moon a group of people outside the bar.

After officers told Mosley it was time to go, he, according to the report, began to curse and yell at them and a physical altercation ensued.

In video News 2 obtained of the altercation and resulting arrest, Mosley is lying face down on the pavement, surrounded by at least three officers who appear to be trying to take him into custody.

At one point, one of the officers is shown striking Mosley as many as seven times in the back with his fist.

Eventually, the officers are able to handcuff Mosley and bring him to his feet.

In a release, the Murfreesboro Police Department said they stand behind Officer Kenneth White's actions.  White, an 11-year veteran of Murfreesboro Police Department, is the officer shown in the video punching Mosley repeatedly.

Spokesperson Kyle Evans said that after reviewing the video and statements from the officers involved, officials believe the level of force applied was "reasonable and appropriate."

News 2 showed the video to Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney Lisa Eischeid.

Eischeid is not affiliated with Mosley or the officers involved.

"We see he is down and you do see an officer continuing to punch him," she told News 2. "You have four officers there and that does go beyond what should happen to a defendant."

She continued, "They were saying he was resisting, but all I saw in the video was he had his hand down but they were pushing him down so I am not sure if he had a chance to put his arm back."

Eischeid said it is good that witnesses recorded the arrest.

"You are always going to get the police officer's side," she said. "They are sworn to tell the truth but they are jaded sometimes. I love when people get their own video because I have clients who have been accused wrongly and it is so nice to have video that shows exactly what happened."

Fellow Smyrna firefighter and friend Brian Emamalie saw the whole incident unfold and says he believes officers did use excessive force.

"As you can see, he's not resisting," Emamalie told News 2 exclusively Thursday night. "Officer White, as you can see by the video there, he just starts hitting him and I just don't think there's a reason for excess force like that."

Mosley was charged with public intoxication, indecent exposure and resisting arrest.  He was booked into the Rutherford County jail and later released on $2,750 bond.

Former Metro cop Buford Tune said he has also seen the video, but feels the actions of the officers were warranted.

"If you want to start yelling that this is police brutality then you need to put yourself in the shoes of these law enforcement officers for one time when you have a person acting a fool like this," Tune. "All this guy had to do was lay on the ground and be handcuffed. And fight this in court instead of the side of the street."

News 2 has learned he received medical treatment for bruised ribs after his release.

Mosley declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday.

Mosley has worked for the Smyrna Fire Department since 2005.

Friday, Fire Chief Bill Culbertson told News 2 he was shocked and disappointed to learn of Mosley's arrest, calling him a "good employee."

He said Mosley would not be disciplined until the case works its way through the judicial system.

"We will follow it through the judicial system and take the information gathered to the town manager," Culbertson said.

The chief said he has talked to his firefighter but would not disclose what was said.

To his citizens, Culberston said, "I would apologize for the incident and we will gather the details and will address it accordingly."

A January 16, 2014 court date has been set for Mosley.

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