Walker Co. Sheriff fires back on harassment claims
The Walker County Sheriff is firing back against a local business owner who claims a deputy is harassing him and driving off his customers. Channel 3 first broke this story earlier in the week.
We first introduced you to Ronald Cline on Tuesday. He says deputies were parked outside his business at all hours of the day and that one deputy in particular, Corey Griffin, told one of his customers he was running an illegal gambling operation.
Sheriff Wilson says that is simply not true.
"It made me feel like I was paying $1,400 a month for them to park and watch me," says Cline.
Cline showed Channel 3 pictures of Walker County deputies that were sitting near his billiard hall business off Lafayette Road in Rossville. He also says deputy Corey Griffin pulled over one his patrons, interrogating them.
"Just telling her that I had been arrested for illegal gambling, which I've never been arrested for illegal gambling at all," says Cline.
"We do contend and agree with him that we did stop one car that left his business for a traffic violation, for an expired tag, and I believe some other traffic violations. The traffic stop was not made on his parking lot, it was made away from his parking lot," says Sheriff Steve Wilson.
Sheriff Wilson says it is not uncommon for his deputies to patrol that stretch of road for traffic violations, saying deputy Griffin is a part of the traffic unit. Griffin was there for our interview with the sheriff, but did not comment because of department policy.
"I've been under the impression that we were parking on his parking lot, but as we've investigated this, we found that's not the case," says Wilson.
Even Cline's pictures back that up. Wilson says Cline has a lengthy criminal history, being arrested 10 times in Walker County. Two of those times Griffin was the arresting officer. He says Cline is trying to make it personal.
"I think there is some paranoia there. I really do believe that," says Wilson.
Wilson admits, Cline has complained to him before about Griffin over the phone and in person but never formally.
Channel 3 pulled Griffin's personnel file, and there were no written complaints from Cline.
"I do not see that the officers have done one thing wrong, not one thing. And I support them 100 percent," says Wilson.
Wilson says Cline should be thankful for the watchful eyes.
"If I were a business owner in Walker County and a deputy was patrolling my neighborhood, my business, I would be grateful," says Wilson.
Sheriff Wilson says his deputies will continue to patrol that stretch of road. He says until a business owner asks them to leave the adjacent parking, they are doing nothing wrong, and will stay there.