Much discussion has ensued in recent weeks about the Order of Protection (OP) once issued against our police chief. That is to be expected given that domestic violence is such a hot button topic at this point in time. I find it peculiar, however, that a few select individuals have very loudly demanded that I apologize for bringing this issue to light. I can only attribute their reasons to ignorance.
First, some believe that I owe an apology because the order itself was never issued. Court records indicate otherwise.
The April 11, 2012 Petition for Order of Protection and Order for Hearing Case # OP-20698 was filed in Blount County General Sessions court and requested: No contact with the wife or children, stay away from home, work or anywhere the wife was, personal conduct do not cause intentional damage to property or utilities; do not hurt or threaten animals, counseling/substance abuse programs – request to attend certified batterers’ intervention program, no firearms, possession, transport or purchase.
On page three of the document, item 15 is checked and specifically states “No firearms. Please order the Respondent not to have, possess, transport, buy, receive, use or in any other way get any firearm.”
The order was granted as indicated by the initial “TH” and the statement “THE COURT FINDS GOOD CAUSE AND WILL ISSUE A TEMPORARY ORDER OF PROTECTION” No exceptions to the request were noted.
The April 11th order was subsequently left in place according to the hearing documents dated April 19, 2012: Transcript of Proceedings Blount County General Sessions Court. The following is a direct quote from Judge Robert Headrick’s ruling: “I am going to also continue and extend on my motion, the ex parte order of protection that Ms. Akagi has sought for her benefit and the benefit of the two minor children…” It is worth noting that Chief Jim Akagi as well as two of his subordinates testified in this hearing. Audio recordings were also entered into evidence, though their content was not fully transcribed.
The June 19, 2013 Final Agreed Order Circuit Court for Blount County E-22639 was heard by Tammy M. Harrington and filed by Tom Hatcher. The following is a quote from the section “It is accordingly ordered as follows: 5. ‘There is an existing Petition, an ex parte Order of Protection in the General Sessions Court for Blount County, TN Docket No. OP-20698. This Petition and Order of Protection shall be dismissed with any costs associated with same being taxed to the Defendant… 7. The parties acknowledge that the mother and the minor children are relocating…and the Petition in Opposition to Relocation shall be dismissed.’”
The same folks who have argued that the OP was never granted also claim that the “non-existent OP” did not preclude Chief Akagi from carrying a firearm. They would like for me to apologize for requesting an investigation into whether or not Chief Akagi violated the order they claim was never issued in the first place.
As stated above, the original petition included the restriction of possession of firearms. There is no mention of any exception to this restriction by the judge in the hearing transcript. Many have referenced conflicting federal and state laws; however, one would think that the judge would have specified such exceptions if that were his intent. Regardless, as I have publicly stated before, I met with City Manager Mark Watson in August 2014 who admitted to having knowledge of the OP and, when I asked him directly if Chief Akagi carried his sidearm during that period he replied, “No.” To date, neither Mr. Watson nor Chief Akagi have publicly denied that Akagi was under an Order of Protection that prevented him from carrying firearms.
Finally, some feel that the OP is a private matter and have questioned my decision to bring it to the public’s attention. However, public documents about public figures are by no means private matters. The public has a right to know if those whom we entrust to “protect and serve” have been served with an Order of Protection.
Conversely, public officials must be very cautious of what we say about individuals who are not public figures. For that reason, I have limited my commentary on the entire contents of the OP. Unfortunately, Angi Agle (an elected BOE member) has not exercised that same level of caution. While pretending to be another public figure on one of her anonymous websites, she is actively attacking private citizens in an obvious attempt to intimidate and silence. Mrs. Agle has admitted on Facebook to being the owner of this site.
One of her targets is the former Mrs. Akagi. Among other things, Agle calls Mrs. Johnson’s integrity into question by insinuating that she may have perjured herself to obtain the OP. Perhaps Mrs. Agle is fortunate enough to never have had such a need, but she and those commenting with her on her website should, at the very least, understand that an OP is issued to protect people who demonstrate evidence that they have a legitimate reason to fear for their safety. A judge found sufficient evidence to grant the order and to keep it in place for over a year.
No one, other than Mrs. (Akagi) Johnson herself, has a right to speak to the legitimacy of her concerns and actions. Frankly, I’m astounded that any woman would attempt to discredit a victim of domestic violence without any personal knowledge of the situation. Aren’t such intimidation tactics the primary tool of abusers themselves?
Let us not forget the primary reason for these discussions: a 40% loss of our police force since Jim Akagi took the helm. Since this ordeal came to light two months ago, we’ve lost three more individuals from our ORPD. At least two of them served their country as combat veterans, so they certainly know a thing or two about leadership. All attributed their departures to leadership. For THAT, I am sorry.
On March 27th City Council will establish the parameters of the investigation, possibly select an investigator and vote on whether or not Chief Akagi should be placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. Let’s hope that we avoid further losses until then.