UPDATE: McMinn Co. detective under investigation by the TBI - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: McMinn Co. detective under investigation by the TBI

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A McMinn County detective is off the job. Josh Rhodes is under investigation by the TBI after being accused of stealing a credit card from a man he arrested.

Channel 3 has learned this isn't the first time the former detective's police work has been questioned.

Rhodes is named in two federal lawsuits, filed by women who claim they were falsely arrested and imprisoned for late payments on payday loans.

According to court documents, Rhodes charged the women with worthless checks, a Class A misdemeanor, in 2015.

Late last year, prosecutors agreed to drop all criminal charges. Court documents say, because it was a "civil matter."

"We abolished debtor's prisons hundreds of years ago," said attorney Abby Burke, who represents the plaintiffs. "The Tennessee Constitution specifically says, you can't put someone in jail for not paying a civil loan."

Sheriff Joe Guy tells us Rhodes was not reprimanded after the worthless check charges against the women were dropped.

An attorney representing Rhodes denies the allegations listed in the suit.


PREVIOUS STORY: A McMinn County sheriff's detective under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is off the job.

A TBI spokesperson confirmed Detective Josh Rhodes is being investigated for allegedly stealing a credit card from a person he arrested.

"At the request of 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump, the TBI on July 14th began investigating a theft complaint against Josh Rhodes with the McMinn County Sheriff's Department," spokesperson Susan Niland said. "The complaint is of an alleged credit card theft from an individual following his arrest by the detective in April, 2016."

Sheriff Joe Guy said Detective Rhodes was fired on July 28 for several policy violations including mishandling evidence and violating department ethics. Guy became aware of an issue with Rhodes about a month ago.

“It appeared there might be a criminal matter involved, so I notified the District Attorney’s Office, who notified the TBI. Our internal investigation discovered the policy violations. Once those violations were confirmed, he was terminated,” Guy said.

Guy said Rhodes had been with the McMinn County Sheriff's Office for a year and was described as a "competent and productive officer."

“There is no room in law enforcement for unethical behavior, even when it involves one of your own. We have a responsibility to the public not to tolerate wrongdoing. We hold our officers at the highest level of conduct and demand those standards be followed," added Guy.

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