KINGSPORT — A Kingsport Police Department officer has been placed on paid leave as KPD Chief Gale Osborne investigates a report of a patrolman punching a Johnson City police officer in the nose.
KPD Patrolman Jason K. McLain is the second officer in the past month whose law enforcement career has been jeopardized by off-duty actions.
Just last week, a former KPD officer resigned after being placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation into his MySpace postings that concluded he had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.
Timesnews.net commenter Kent Smith submitted his thoughts on the KPD’s latest investigation: “Another black eye, pun intended, for the KPD,” he wrote.
McLain appeared to be asleep when Johnson City police first spotted him and an unidentified individual in the front seats of a Honda minivan still parked in the Electric Cowboy parking lot, 1805 N. Roan St., about 15 minutes after the bar’s usual closing time on Saturday morning.
McLain allegedly punched a Johnson City officer in the nose during a scuffle that began after a JCPD officer, unaware that he was an off-duty KPD officer, attempted to help him out of the vehicle. He smelled strongly of alcohol, according to Johnson City reports.
The ensuing scuffle ended with McLain in handcuffs facing charges of simple assault, public intoxication and resisting arrest, police said.
McLain, 34, of 145 Nicole Drive, Mount Carmel, was checked by emergency medical personnel and then transported to the Washington County Detention Center. Jail officials say he bonded out a few hours later, around 6:15 a.m.
In 2006, KPD recognized McLain for noteworthy service on at least two occasions.
Osborne said Tuesday he couldn’t provide any further information about the incident as it is still under investigation.