Should a person serve time for causing a law enforcement officer’s panic attack? A couple in Sevier County, Tennessee were booked for allegedly doing just that.
Newly released video showed Sevier County Sheriff’s deputy Justin Johnson reporting to a Tennessee mobile home park in December 2016. As seen in almost 10 minutes of frantic video, Johnson ordered Tina Carrie Jo Cody, 37 to stand still. Instead, she ran. The deputy pursued, catching up to her. Johnson and another official started handcuffing her, and it is during this time that Cody’s boyfriend Brian Keith Mullinax, 41, got involved. Standing by a trailer, he reportedly started filming the arrest with his cellphone. Johnson thought it was a firearm, and opened fire. He told dispatch about a “guy with a gun.” No one got shot, but the deputy kept his weapon drawn. Eventually, he started breathing heavy, suffering an apparent panic attack. A paramedic at the scene tried to calm him down, and took the gun before returning it.
Johnson was originally called to the scene over a “morbidly obese female” who fell in her home, according to the incident report obtained by The Knoxville News Sentinel. The woman, disoriented and unaware of what time and day she fell, started complaining about her landlord and the landlord’s daughter, Cody. For example, she claimed they stole her purse.
Mullinax and Cody ended up getting booked for the panic attack. In an incident report, SCSO Detective Johnny Bohanan wrote that he charged them with assault, “he was taken to the hospital with injuries and may have suffered some type of cardiac event.”
The couple faced felony counts at first, but that changed. A grand jury declined to indict Cody for the assault. Now she’s just accused of resisting arrest. Mullinax still faces a misdemeanor assault charge. His trial, expected to start on Tuesday, is delayed. Records obtained by LawNewz show that it has yet to be rescheduled.
The Knoxville News Sentinel tried reaching out to the sheriff’s office for their Monday report, but the call wasn’t returned. Sheriff Ronald “Hoss” Seals commented that same day in a Facebook post. He referenced that article, and provided context for why they didn’t provide comment.
“We are not free to make public comment ON ANY criminal case until it has been adjudicated. One of the most difficult tasks that I face as Sheriff is remaining quiet while public scrutiny and speculation runs rampant.” he wrote, later adding. “I’ve served this Community for over 40 years and even though I can not comment specifically on this incident I CAN and WILL say without hesitation that every Deputy at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office does the best that he or she can given the dynamic, complicated, stressful, dangerous, and fluid situations that we are called to mediate every time a call for help is dispatched. Please understand that we always accept responsibility, both good and bad, for our actions and reactions in all situations.”
[Screengrab via Sevier County Sheriff’s Office]
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