Police Investigation: Conflict of Interests?

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Maryville, Blount County (WVLT) - Maryville Police continue to investigate the officer-involved shooting that took an 18-year-old's life Thursday night at a CVS pharmacy.

Some are questioning why the Maryville Police Department is handling the investigation on its own, with two of its officers at the forefront of the case.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford spoke with the police department to find out why.

Sometimes another agency is brought in for a situation like this, and often times it's TBI, but Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp says timing and witnesses were the deciding factor to handle this case on their own.

"What we're doing now is just taking all the statements that we've gathered and looking at them in their totality,” Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp says they're also reviewing surveillance tapes from CVS that recorded Officers Ronnie Pryor and D.J. Porter shooting 18-year-old Daniel Pfeffer to death.

"Still just putting the last pieces of the puzzle together,” Chief Crisp says.

In the meantime, Pryor and Porter are on paid administrative leave, so why not bring an outside agency in to handle something involving Maryville's own officers?

"I went ahead and chose to do our own investigation after conferring with our local district attorney Mike Flynn,” says Crisp.

"The only way that we would investigate something like that is at the request of the District Attorney. I can tell you this hasn't happened yet,” says TBI spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson.

With more than a dozen witnesses inside CVS Thursday night, Chief Crisp says he had no time to wait for another agency, such as TBI.

"We had so many large number of witnesses that I really wanted to interview that night the shooting happened rather than waiting a couple days,” Chief Crisp says.

The Police Department's Criminal Investigative Division is heading the investigation, and for those who may think favoritism could come into play with Officer Pryor and Porter, "Absolutely not. I think the credibility and integrity of our police department speaks for itself,” Chief Crisp says.

Daniel Pfeffer's mother says she's hiring a private investigator, but Chief Crisp says so far he feels both officers did what they're trained to do. “Based on our investigation where it's at right now and reviewing the evidence that's been given to us, without a doubt, we followed policy and procedure and the law."

Chief Crisp says they expect to have the investigation complete by the end of this week or the first of next.

After that, they'll present their case to District Attorney General Mike Flynn and go from there.

So it shouldn't be too long before we have an outcome on this.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by tme Location: Maryville on Jun 6, 2007 at 08:43 PM
    It is unfortunate that a young kid had to die. however just like the previous comment states people on drugs do change and that is coming from someone who's dad is and has been addicted to pain killers. These people do not think of who they are going to hurt just how they can get the next high and where they are going to get it from. They do not think of their family nor anyone else. There were innocent people there and I know that some have famlies (since I did know some of the people involved at the pharmacy) and how do you think they felt with a man (he is 18) with knives and a hatchet robbing them. The witnesses are dealing with their emotions as well as are the family for this young man but in different ways. With MPD doing there own investigation there were so many people there that night that you have to get their stories right away to make sure you have an accurate account of the events that unfolded that night. Cops have a tough job sometimes to make these judgement calls but I know that if I were in that same situation and those innocent witnesses and employees I would hope that the police dept. would have done the same thing. They are trained to protect the community as well as themselves. Obviously they thought that the young man was going to harm them or they would have never shot the young man. Video from CVS will show that their actions were justified. These officers would not intentionally shoot without the need. They are not trained to just scare someone they are trained to protect and if the young man has a hatchet I want protected not scared.
  • by 8 viewer Location: Knoxville on Jun 6, 2007 at 04:32 PM
    "Some" are questioning why the Maryville Police Department is handling the investigation on its own, with two of its officers at the forefront of the case. Who is the "some" in your story. Where do you cross the line from being an activist to a reporter? In the meantime, Pryor and Porter are on paid administrative leave, "so why not bring an outside agency in to handle something involving Maryville's own officers?" Is this Kim Bedford's personal desire, question or opinion?
  • by amc Location: Strawberry Plains on Jun 6, 2007 at 12:02 PM
    Why should Blount County be any different than the rest of the counties. An outside agency should be investgating. That way if anything is brought up about favortism, it will not be on the county itself.
  • by Kelli Location: Knoxville on Jun 6, 2007 at 07:21 AM
    I understand that the mother of the killed teenager is upset. She lost her son. However, his entire family keeps stating on the news that he was a good kid. Well, sometimes when people are on drugs, they change. He was robbing a pharmacy for drugs which is a crime! He had knives and a hatchet on him! What was he planning to do with those? There were several innocent people in the pharmacy when the incident took place that could have been seriously injured or even killed. I feel that the officers did their job in protecting innocent people from being harmed. I don't see anything wrong with them conducting their own investigation seeing that there were so many witnesses to the incident.
  • by angela Location: KNOXVILLE on Jun 6, 2007 at 06:34 AM
  • by s on Jun 6, 2007 at 05:07 AM
    Where was the mother while the boy was out going crazy for drugs??????


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