Jefferson County Sheriff says his deputies did nothing wrong

DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) A news conference to discuss the recent deaths at the Jefferson County Jail didn't shed any light on what's happened in the past four months.

Sheriff Bud McCoig said he would hold a news conference Friday afternoon in reference to the recent lawsuit filed against the county. The lawsuit claims that the death of inmate Jeffrey Free could have been prevented if guards had been doing their job. Free's widow, Donna, says that jail staff left Free unsupervised in a medical unit cell, knowing he had suicidal tendencies.

Free was found hanged in his medical cell.

McCoig addressed the lawsuit by first saying his priorities are for the families who have lost loved one. From there, McCoig confirmed that there have been three inmate deaths since January, and that he called in the TBI to help investigate.

McCoig stood up for his deputies, saying they did nothing wrong.

"I witnesses these officers try to save these lives," McCoig said.

McCoig then said the lawsuit is an attack on him since it's election season.

After that he quoted a scripture passage from Romans, saying, "at the appointed moments, Christ died for us," and refused to answer any questions from reporters.

The TBI confirmed it is investigating a death from within the Jefferson County Jail, but would give no other information.

The lawyer representing Free says the lawsuit is not politically motivated.

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