Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson holds nothing back after felony charges dropped
Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson didn't hold anything back when addressing his accusers Friday morning.
Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson didn't hold anything back when addressing his accusers Friday Morning. The District Attorney General Jim Dunn decided to drop the case against Watson, dropping 12 felony charges.
“I know first hand how innocent people can be indicted by a grand jury,” said Sheriff Eric Watson.
Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson said the accusations against him were bold face lies.
Those accusations were investigated by the Department of Revenue.
“He didn't search tax records where I paid taxes on the vehicles," Sheriff Watson said. "He didn't speak to one person before he presented this to the grand jury.”
The Sheriff has been under scrutiny for the last year and a half. He said the State Comptroller's Office and the TBI have investigated him during that time.
READ MORE | Charges against Bradley County Sheriff dropped
At a press conference he blamed County Commissioner Dan Rawls for initiating the investigations, calling his motivation political. Watson also spoke out against the Chattanooga Times Free Press for its coverage of the claims.
The newspaper, which is a media partner with Channel 3, responded to Watson’s criticism with a statement, saying in part: "In more than two years of stories about Watson, he has never contacted the Times Free Press to dispute the accuracy of the reporting or to ask for a correction."
Watson said the investigation has affected his family.
“I get a call on that Wednesday morning at Disney World," he said. "Our kids were there, we had to actually leave the park because I had a NCIC felony warrant on me across the nation.”
Watson is ready to put this behind him and tells Channel 3, he has filed paperwork to run for re-election in May.
He is also considering civil action against his accusers.
“I think they have evidence this was malicious in attacking me, it has been for the last two years," Watson said. "I would love for a grand jury to make a decision on that.”
Here is the entire TFP statement on Eric Watson:
"The Times Free Press stands by reporter Judy Walton's stories on Sheriff Eric Watson and her reporting methods. The DA's report acknowledged that Watson technically violated the law, but said the office chose not to prosecute because he paid taxes on the cars he purchased. It does not contradict any of the Times Free Press investigation, published Dec. 4, 2016, eleven days before Watson paid taxes on the vehicles.
"In more than two year of stories about Watson, he has never contacted the Times Free Press to dispute the accuracy of the reporting or to ask for a correction."
— Alison Gerber, editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Channel 3 reached out to County Commissioner Dan Rawls. He told us he was disappointed in the charges being dropped. He said the decision speaks poorly of the state of Tennessee. He went on to say the charges were for Forgery and Fraud and nothing to do with vehicle tags and titles.