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Former Kingsport police officer pleads not guilty to assault of Johnson City policeman

Becky Campbell • Jan 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

JOHNSON CITY — A former Kingsport police officer who resigned over charges related to an alleged assault on a Johnson City police officer outside a bar in September was indicted by a Washington County grand jury earlier this month.

Jason McLain, 34, of Mount Carmel, appeared before Judge Lynn Brown in Washington County Criminal Court Tuesday with his attorneys, Rick Spivey and Wayne Culbertson.

McLain pleaded not guilty to assault, resisting arrest and public intoxication, and Brown set a March 19 trial date.

He was arrested Sept. 1 after Johnson City Police Department Officer Robert Hall pulled him from a vehicle in the parking lot of the Electric Cowboy in the Roan Centre. According to a JCPD report and a court document charging McLain, Hall saw him slumped over in the passenger’s seat of a red Honda.

He asked two people in a van near the car if they knew the man, but they didn’t.

Hall wrote in his report that he saw blood on McLain’s knees and shirt, so he tapped the window and shined his flashlight into the car to try to wake McLain up.

Hall stated that the door was unlocked, so he opened it and pushed on McLain’s shoulder and he began to wake up.

“After the subject was awake I began to help him out of the car. The subject leaned back into the car and punched me in the nose,” Hall wrote in his report.

At that point, Hall wrestled McLain to the ground but said McLain continued to fight. McLain received injuries to his face, nose and knees during the scuffle but refused treatment by emergency medical personnel, police said.

He was taken to jail but released a short time later.

The Kingsport Police Department conducted an internal investigation parallel to the JCPD’s investigation. At the conclusion of that internal probe in late September, McLain resigned from the KPD after 13 years as a patrolman.

Kingsport Police Chief Gale Osborne said at that time that the department has high professional standards and does not take them lightly.

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