I understand that Sheriff Bivens was not arrested because he had previously warned Mayor Summey against using inmates for work on private property. The warning was after witnesses came to Sheriff Bivens complaining about inmates in prison uniforms working on private property.
After the warning, Ken Miller and Mayor Summey again allegedly signed out inmates, dressed them in street clothes so as to mask their identities as inmates, and resumed using them to do landscaping work on private property.
Due to Sheriff Bivens warning, he was omitted from the charges. He at least gave the impression that he had removed himself from the illegal activities.
I do not know if the sheriff was aware of the second use of the inmates. It appears the TBI gave him the benefit of the doubt. Whether the decision not to charge Bivens was political, I cannot say for sure.
Wes Hall Editor
Daily News Express
…let me give you some information that would qualify me to make the statement.
First I have lived in the area of Loudon, McMinn, Monroe and Bradley Counties for most of my life. I have been the editor and publisher of the Daily News Express in Monroe Co. since July 1, 2003 when I started the paper.
Before that I covered news between 1977 and 1999 in the same area. I have seen and reported on news, crime, and corruption throughout this area.
During the previous sheriff’s administration, I told voters that if Bill Bivens was elected it would set the county law enforcement back 20 years. He proved it true. Back to the “good ole boys political machine days.”
Can anyone say Boss Hogg?
I have followed the antics of this sheriff as he allowed prisoners to go free out of ignorance or negligence; withheld medical treatment from inmate (Trena Miller) for more than 8 hours causing her to die of a heart attack.
His deputies arrested a woman, Zona Weese, for domestic violence assault even though she had 20+ fractures of her face (I saw the report from UT Hospital). MCSO held her for four days before arraignment. The judge ordered her released and sent her to the hospital. The boyfriend (Herschell Torbett) had no visible injuries but was not arrested.
The chief deputy cussed me out more than once and threatened to put me in jail if I showed up and made pictures of anything they were doing (Meth lab, wreck scene, etc.).
Inmates told me horror stories of how they were treated; tazered during their sleep in the middle of the night just for fun.
I saw the jailers make female inmates walk from the jail to the court building in sub freezing weather wearing only underwear (they said) an orange jump suit and flip flops.. no socks.
When I ask questions while working on a news report, someone from the sheriff’s office immediately tells the other newspaper so they can beat me to the story…of course always with a slant to favor the sheriff’s department.
Bivens has his own voice, a pamphlet run by a man the previous sheriff arrested for illegal weapons and marijuana in 2003.
The sheriff’s office regularly “forgets” to notify us of press conferences, then in the other paper, blames us when we cover the news (and uncover corruption) they don’t like. For example we caught them using a 16-year-old girl as a confidential informant, sending her into dangerous drug deal situations.
They intimidate other law enforcement officers who expressed an interest in running against Bivens.
The list of atrocities continues, but I am being brief here.
So, I have NO reason to stand up for Bivens. I have numerous reasons to attack him. But I do research and learn the truth before I attack someone.
It is my duty also to defend the truth.
In the inmate case, my son has researched it and I passed along his findings for truth’s sake.
I have been in the news business since 1964 as a teenager at my high school paper. My investigative reports have been responsible for investigations that led to charges against one sheriff, one mayor, one city councilman, and a Sevier County businessman. All were convicted or pled.
Yes, I am part of the problem… A problem for the Bivens administration and a problem for unscrupulous public officials.
But if I use innuendos and partial truths, or untruths to attack them, it undermines my credibility. I cannot allow that. If someone can provide evidence that will convince me differently, I stand ready to listen objectively and change my mind.
No one has done so yet.