KINGSPORT — A Kingsport police officer is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation at the department.
On Wednesday, Kingsport Police Department Lt. Bob Abernathy confirmed Officer Bryan Carter was placed on leave with pay last week. Abernathy declined to elaborate on the nature of the investigation, citing its ongoing status, while attempts by the Times-News to reach Carter were unsuccessful.
During his 14-year career with the KPD, Carter has been disciplined on three previous occasions.
In 2009, he was suspended three days without pay and suspended from working interstate highways for three months. Those actions followed an October 2008 traffic stop in which $2,675 was allegedly seized and the vehicle’s occupants were allowed to drive away despite the fact they didn’t have a valid driver’s license and were in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Carter provided the driver a Tennessee Notice of Property Seizure detailing the seizure of the money. However, he did not identify himself as the officer effecting the seizure or the law enforcement agency he represented. And no incident report on the stop was filed at the police station.
The individuals pulled over, Mexican citizens, contacted Johnson City attorney Don Spurrell, claiming Carter actually seized about $4,500. According to then-Sullivan County District Attorney Greeley Wells — who requested that the TBI investigate the incident and called the police work “shoddy” — Carter’s actions could have been presented to the grand jury under the official misconduct statute. But since the car’s occupants returned to Mexico and would not come back to Tennessee as witnesses, that was not possible.
In 2005, according to personnel records, police called Carter at his home after he failed to turn in money seized during an arrest the previous evening. And in 2003, Carter’s superiors discovered he had not turned in a gun, three ammunition clips and a bottle of vodka to the evidence unit. The items were seized 11 months prior, in March 2002, while Carter was moonlighting as a security officer at Coconuts nightclub.
For each of those incidents Carter was suspended eight hours without pay.