Chattanooga Times Free Press | Judy Walton | July 30th, 2017
In one epic April weekend, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson threatened a group of inmates for talking trash about his bail-bondsman wife; embroiled more than a dozen law officers in a multistate manhunt for one of her bail skips; and pulled a gun on a motorist in Georgia, where he has no authority — all with his wife and another bondsman riding along in his official sheriff’s vehicle.
The episode lends weight to complaints from the Bradley County bail bonding community of a thumb on the scales in favor of the sheriff’s wife, Tenille Watson. It also echoesallegations of wrongdoing by Sheriff Watson forwarded last year to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
That TBI investigation resulted in Watson being indicted on six felony counts of using forged or altered vehicle titles in connection with his sideline business as a used-car dealer. Watson was booked July 21. No court date had been set in that case as of Friday. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, local attorneys asked to review documents and videos related to Watson’s Easter weekend activities say he could have opened himself up to liability ranging from civil rights violations to kidnapping and aggravated assault.
The Times Free Press sent Watson a detailed list of questions Thursday morning about his activities that weekend and asked for his comment. He did not respond.
The first incident, threatening jail inmates, is documented in an email sent by corrections Sgt. Jason Brock to jail Lt. Christi Walls at 9 p.m. on April 15. The Times Free Press obtained the email through Tennessee’s Open Records Act…