Ex-Chattanooga Police Chief Murphy Caught in 17-Count Indictment Scandal

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Hello everyone, we have just received significant news from Chattanooga, Tennessee. The city’s former Police Chief, Celeste Murphy, is currently facing a substantial 17-count indictment, loaded with both felony and misdemeanor criminal charges. This development follows her voluntary departure from her post just a day prior.

This unexpected news was released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation last Thursday. The Bureau claimed that a Hamilton County Grand Jury issued the indictment after initiating an investigation into Murphy’s residency in April.

Presently, she is facing grave charges, including one count of Illegal Voter Registration, one count of False Entries on Official Registration or Election Documents, three counts each of False Entries in Governmental Records and Forgery, and, notably, six counts of Official Misconduct.

The heart of the issue lies in the agents’ discovery that Murphy had allegedly knowingly provided false information on several official forms. These documents were all related to establishing her residency in Chattanooga.

From the Associated Press:

Murphy has been under investigation by the TBI since April after the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported conflicting residency claims on her tax forms in Georgia and voter forms in Tennessee.

The investigation found that Murphy claimed primary residences in both Tennessee and Georgia during her time as police chief. Chattanooga city policy requires public employees to live in Tennessee.

The newspaper reported that Murphy has claimed a homestead exemption on a house she purchased in Fulton County, Georgia, each year since 2021 — a tax break for those who certify the property is their primary residence. Meanwhile, Murphy is registered to vote in Tennessee, which requires people to certify they’re living at their primary residence in the state.

“During the investigation, agents determined Murphy knowingly entered false information on several government documents related to establishing residency in Chattanooga, though swearing to their truth in signing the documents,” the TBI said in a news release.

 

The Bureau confirmed that Murphy surrendered herself at the Hamilton County Jail last Thursday morning and was subsequently released after posting a $19,000 bond.

On the city’s leadership front, Chattanooga’s Mayor, Tim Kelly, shared that he accepted Murphy’s resignation, effective immediately. He was quoted as saying, “While the circumstances surrounding the situation have been challenging, I respect her desire to preserve the integrity of the Chattanooga Police Department.”

The Chattanooga Police Department’s current Executive Chief of Police, Harry Sommers, is set to fill Murphy’s position temporarily as the Mayor’s Office begins its search for a new chief.

Reacting to this development, the Fraternal Order of Police voiced their disappointment, stating, “It is a disappointing day for law enforcement when an Officer or Chief is indicted for acting outside the law and tarnishes the badge we all proudly wear.”

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