Okay, this sounds familiar.
University of Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams didn’t learn from police they were under investigation for rape the way most suspects do.
Instead, the players first heard the news from their Tennessee football coaches — in Johnson’s case, four hours before police showed up at the scene of the alleged crime to question him, according to sources and cell phone records obtained by The Tennessean.
Contrary to police best practices, potentially threatening the integrity of the investigation and in possible violation of state law, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch and a detective made “professional courtesy” calls to Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones about the investigation — a practice Rausch says is common when police investigate alleged crimes involving an athlete at Tennessee.
I mean, just ask Chief Rausch.
Rausch has said that alerting the coach and staff when police are investigating an alleged crime against a UT athlete is a long-standing practice and a “professional courtesy.”
We can all appreciate a professional police department, but here’s where things potentially get weird, at least for Knoxville, Tennessee.
The calls may also have violated state law, according to a statement issued by the Knox County district attorney in response to an inquiry by The Tennessean.
“We cannot discuss the investigation of this case while the litigation is pending,” said Assistant District Attorney Sean McDermott.
“In any case, however, (Knox County District Attorney) General (Charme) Allen opposes pre-arrest notification to any person or agency that is not made in furtherance of the investigation,” the statement said. “A pre-arrest disclosure of sensitive information that is not made for the purpose of advancing the criminal investigation potentially could violate state law regarding the misuse of official information.”
Phil Fulmer ain’t buying that potential crap, fellas. The police have their job to do in K-town. They know it. Booch knows it, too, even if he’s full of it on no discussion with his players. You can’t spell courtesy without UT.