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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tale of the Tape II. Security video from the city hall IT department the morning of June 3, 2016.

About 12 hours after the incident between councilmen Pete Souza and Jesse Kerley and Kerley's father Jerry Kerley, director of water resources following a budget work session the evening of June 2, 2016, the two Kerleys and interim city manager Steve Hill were in the city's IT department to review the security tape of the incident early the next morning.

Through a freedom of information request, video from the security camera inside the IT department was legally obtained and it shows a flurry of activity on Friday morning June 3 from 7:28 AM through 8:11 AM on the morning following the incident in the city hall doorway that eventually led to an assault charge against councilman Kerley that was dismissed following a hearing in General Session Court.

Councilman Jesse Kerley, right enters the city hall IT office
followed by interim city manager Steve Hill and 
his father Jerry Kerley, director of water resources.

The two Kerleys and Hill arrived at city hall and entered the IT department offices at 7:28.  The video is time stamped as 6:28, but for some reason the time did not adjust to daylight savings time.  There is only a single camera in the IT department and it only shows the door and some of the lobby area just outside of IT, but what it shows is much discussion between the men, and the arrival a bit later on of city attorney Will Ridley then interim police chief Rod Shoap who was the last to arrive at about 7:52 AM.

Shoap wrote about his recollection of that morning meeting that left him frustrated.

At about 7:45 am my phone rang and it was interim city manager Hill asking when I was coming (to city hall). I said I was ready to leave and just waiting for Kyle to get to work. Hill said Kyle was already there and said he was going to Kyle’s office to ask him to begin finding the video.

I was at Kyle’s office in less than five minutes and I saw Councilman Kerley, Jerry Kerley and Hill already in the office with Kyle. Kyle had already found the video, made copies and gave everyone a copy.

As I walked in, Councilman Kerley said, “See, the video shows it just like I said it was and I want him charged.” Kyle had the video on his computer already running so I saw a portion in the vestibule but it looked like the Kerleys assaulted Sousa. Kyle handed me a disc and said, “this is a full length version.” I didn’t know what that meant and I’m still not certain today.

Then Councilman Kerley began asking questions about Judge Gardner’s case against (J.R.) Blankenship* about was I writing a report, was I handling it or was the Sheriff, and acting in a very ugly tone. I became frustrated and left.

I went to the finance department to conduct my business and when I walked in, Leah Crockett, the Human Resource Administrator, and Sue Blaylock, an accountant, were in. Immediately Leah asked if I were okay as they noticed how frustrated I was.

Hill now came in and asked me to follow him to his office. I went with him and it was his way of helping to settle me down as they all knew how upset I was at Kerley’s interference and disturbing talk.

I informed Steve Hill that I would go to my office, write my report and bring it back for his approval. I did that and returned around 3:00pm. Hill looked at my report and approved it. 

The following Monday, Chief Shoap forwarded the report and all his information including the video of the interaction between the Kerley and Mr. Souza to the district attorney's office who took over the investigation from there into the June 2 matter.

Security camera video from Crossville city hall IT department 
on the morning of June 3, 2016 
(Sections of this video that show no activity 
have been edited out to shorten the length)

TIMELINE FROM VIDEO: (time has been adjusted by one hour from the time stamp)

7:28 AM Jesse and Jerry Kerley and Steve Hill arrive at the city hall IT department.
7:30 AM Jesse Kerley is on the phone
7:36 AM Jesse Kerley goes out side of city hall to talk to someone.  That person wearing an orange shirt comes into the lobby and they continue to talk.  Councilman Kerley is very animated and making body movements including a shoulder throw at one point.
7:38 AM Man in orange shirt leaves.
7:40 AM Jesse Kerley  talks on the phone in the lobby outside the IT office.
7:41 AM Jesse returns inside IT office 
7:42 AM Steve Hill goes out of IT office
7:45 AM Hill returns.
7:50 AM Hill goes out to lobby then goes to outside door to let city attorney Will Ridley in.  Hill tries to get back in IT office but is locked out.  Jesse Kerley lets them in.
7:51 AM All participants are out of camera range.
7:52 AM Jerry Kerley and Steve Hill go to lobby to talk.
7:52 AM Interim police chief Rod Shoap arrives and speaks briefly with Jerry Kerley and Hill.
7:53 AM Shoap enters IT office while Kerley and Hill continue talking in lobby.
7:55 AM Jerry Kerley and Steve Hill reenter IT office.
7:57 AM Jesse Kerley on phone and goes out to lobby.
8:02 AM Kerley returns in IT office.
8:09 AM Shoap quickly exits IT office and goes into the finance office.
8:10 AM Shoap returns to lobby and goes into the IT office quickly as Jesse Kerley, Attorney Ridley and Hill go out to lobby.  Shoap then exits IT and returns to finance department area.  
8:11 AM Council Kerley and attorney Ridley go outside the building while Hill and Jerry Kerley continue to talk in the lobby.  Jerry Kerley then goes left and Hill goes right to the finance department, the direction Shoap went.

Video of the June 2 incident following a council budget work session that was reviewed 
and copies distributed the following morning by the Kerley's 
and interim city manager Steve Hill.

*Gardner vs Blankenship:  City judge Ivy Gardner filed a request for a restraining order against Blankenship claiming in a court filing that he “has engaged in a pattern of conduct to harass and unnecessarily alarm” Ms. Gardner. The restraining order request comes from the sign that had been in Blankenship's yard on Mockingbird Drive that says, “Twerley Trash=Quid Pro Quo 107 143 68” The numbers correspond to house numbers of property owned by councilman Jesse Kerley, his brother Joseph Kerley and a house owned by Joe B. Gardner, Jr.

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