Crossville city police are investigating an incident at the Mockingbird Drive house that has been the location of a number of controversial political signs concerning Crossville city councilman Jesse Kerley. Those signs are part of a continuing feud between J. R. Blankenship and Kerley.
The incident occurred at around 9:00 AM Friday morning, September 30 when two men in a white crew cab pickup truck allegedly removed signs from the property, putting them in the back of the truck and then leaving the scene. Those signs have been posted for some time and are critical of councilman Jesse Kerley. A neighbor caught the incident on video and also was able to get the license tag number of the truck.
Video showing the incident at 279 Mockingbird Dr.
The person in the video bears a strong resemblance councilman Kerley's father Jerry Kerley getting into the driver's side of the truck. The other individual in the video is not clearly identifiable. Jerry Kerley is employed by the city of Crossville as the director of water resources.
Still from the video
Still from the video
The incident between Jerry Kerley, Jesse Kerley and councilman Pete Souza on June 2 that has lead to assault charges filed against Jesse Kerley reportedly included references by Jerry Kerley to Mr. Souza about Souza supposedly making signs for Mr. Blankenship. The next court date for the assault charges are Thursday October 6. Both Blankenship and Souza have denied Souza had anything to do with the signs and Blankenship says he makes his own signs.
Blankenship has appealed the fine placed by city judge Ivy Gardner against him for distributing unsigned flyers seeking evidence on city officials of wrongdoing. Reports that Jesse Kerley sought to have Blankenship arrested for charges including allegations of driving a vehicle without proper registration or insurance have been made as part of the recently filed ethics complaints made by Mr, Souza.
This is the second time there has been an attack on the signs posted against councilman Kerley at the Mockingbird property. The first time several months ago Mr. Blankenship had placed a game camera that captured still photos of a perpetrator with a sledge hammer damaging the signs. The photos did not clearly show enough to identify the person in the photo.
Previous attack on signs at the Mockingbird house.
Sources say two police reports have been made on the incident to the Crossville police department, one by the neighbor and second one by J. R. Blankenship who put the signs up on the property owned by a family member. The incident is under investigation.
The stolen signs have already been replaced with cardboard versions.
After the incident, replacement signs of cardboard were posted.
House on Mockingbird Drive.