Video: Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson Goes on Two State Manhunt for Wife’s Bail Skip


In one epic April weekend, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson threatened a group of inmates for talking trash about his bail-bondsman wife; embroiled more than a dozen law officers in a multistate manhunt for one of her bail skips; and pulled a gun on a motorist in Georgia, where he has no authority — all with his wife and another bondsman riding along in his official sheriff’s vehicle.

The episode lends weight to complaints from the Bradley County bail bonding community of a thumb on the scales in favor of the sheriff’s wife, Tenille Watson. It also echoes allegations of wrongdoing by Sheriff Watson forwarded last year to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

That TBI investigation resulted in Watson being indicted on six felony counts of using forged or altered vehicle titles in connection with his sideline business as a used-car dealer. Watson was booked July 21. No court date had been set in that case as of Friday. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, local attorneys asked to review documents and videos related to Watson’s Easter weekend activities say he could have opened himself up to liability ranging from civil rights violations to kidnapping and aggravated assault.

The Times Free Press sent Watson a detailed list of questions Thursday morning about his activities that weekend and asked for his comment. He did not respond.

The first incident, threatening jail inmates, is documented in an email sent by corrections Sgt. Jason Brock to jail Lt. Christi Walls at 9 p.m. on April 15. The Times Free Press obtained the email through Tennessee’s Open Records Act.

Brock wrote that Watson pulled into the jail’s sally port, the secure entry to the jail, shortly after 11 a.m. and had Brock bring out a female inmate. The email said Watson was accompanied by his wife, Tenille; Bernnie King, of Brights Bail Bonding, and King’s husband.

“Sheriff Watson began to question [the inmate] regarding a rumor that supposedly started with her about his wife Tenille being arrested for meth,” according to the email. The woman said she’d heard the rumor from another inmate and wasn’t sure where it started, Brock wrote.

“Sheriff Watson then informed [the inmate] to go back to I pod and let all the ladies know that the rumors regarding him, his family, and his administration needed to stop immediately or he would shut down everything in I pod and place them on lockdown,” he wrote.

Watson then ordered Brock to go to the pod himself to tell all the inmates “and also to put it on roll call,” which he did, Brock’s email states.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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