Editor's note this story contains potentially offensive language. The use of a potentially racially inflammatory term is used only in a direct quote and is included as context to the story.

Tullahoma Alderman Jenna Amacher has filed a federal lawsuit against Manchester Police Officer Trey Adcock, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Craighead and the city and the state accusing the two of leaking a video of a conversation that took place in Coffee County Jail.  

According to the lawsuit, “The allegations in this complaint transpired in Coffee County ... on Nov. 18, 2020.  The Plaintiff became aware that a Facebook video was posted by an individual on Facebook that had both audio and video of the plaintiff in a conversation that took place in a visit at the Coffee County Jail. The plaintiff made visits to the jail to meet with Waymond Brian Riddle, the father of her child."

The suit alleges that during an “approximately 20-minute conversation on March 3, 2020 in a video visitation, the plaintiff used the word ‘nigga’ which must be taken into context with the entire conversation”. 

The suit accuses the defendants of accessing the “video using their governmental authority, position, resources, and issued equipment. Subsequently, one or both of these state actors took a personal cell phone video of the plaintiff using this common cultural expression and then published said video, thereby abusing their discretionary authority and position by maliciously co-conspiring to defame the plaintiff under of color of law 11.”  

“The Defendants Trey Adcock and Jennifer Craighead individually and through their employer abused the process of obtaining and releasing personal conversations of the Plaintiff. The abuse of process lies in the fact that they did not go through the proper channels for publishing the private information and accessed such information under color of law. A person "acts under color of state law when he abuses the position given to him by the state."West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49 (1988),” the suit reads.  

The suit says that the recording was politically motivated. 

“The plaintiff does not have a criminal record nor has she or the inmate, Mr. Riddle, been under the jurisdiction of Manchester City, or Officer Adcock’s department. Mr. Riddle had specific district attorneys assigned to his charges and he was arrested in another jurisdiction. Ms. Craighead was not assigned to his case in her capacity as assistant district attorney,” the lawsuit says. 

Amacher alleges that she only became aware of this action taken by these individuals when the video was posted to Facebook and then sent to her via Facebook Messenger by a colleague on Nov. 20, 2020.

“Following the posting to Facebook, an internet mob gathered against the plaintiff. The radical group of Black Lives Matter and leftist operatives called for her resignation as a Tullahoma Alderman. As a result of this infringement and publishing by a state actor, the plaintiff’s civil rights have been violated (and a) vicious and demeaning internet campaign (was) unleashed and caused harm to the Plaintiffs reputation that was foreseeable by the state actors.”

Amacher’s suit  says the culpability of the City of Manchester lies in the fact that it failed to exercise supervision of their employees and “failed to provide adequate training, 5 safeguards, and standard operating procedures for handling sensitive information.”

The Plaintiff contends such lack of oversight amounts to gross negligence. 

“The Defendants defamed the Plaintiff by publishing the official information on Facebook and therefore committed the tort of false light invasion of privacy,” the lawsuit reads, noting that the plaintiff obtained the downloaded information which identified the defendants with a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Coffee County Sheriff’s department on Nov. 19, 2020 after seeing the video on Nov. 18, 2020.

John has been with the Manchester Times since May 2011. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories. John is a 1994 graduate of Tullahoma High School, a graduate of Motlow State Community College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Middle Tennessee State University. He lives in Tullahoma, enjoys painting, dancing and exploring the outdoors.

Staff Writer

Download the free Manchester Times mobile app at the app store. John has won Tennessee Press Association awards for Best News Photo and placed in numerous other categories.

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