Couple pleads guilty to making false claim against police

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 2:32pm
Staff reports

A Spring Hill couple pleaded guilty Wednesday in Williamson County court to a handful of charges related to a June 2008 allegation that Franklin Police used excessive force during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 65.

Rachel and Gregory Clifton were stopped June 2, 2008, by Franklin Police for a broken tail light. During the stop, officers said they found drugs in the car. Gregory Clifton was charged with marijuana possession, but Rachel Clifton was not charged.

The Cliftons filed a formal complaint against the officer, claiming he used excessive force during the traffic stop.

In the written complaint, the Cliftons alleged that Rachel, while unfastening her seat belt, was grabbed by the officer and pulled out of the vehicle.

A review of the officer’s in-car video recorder did not corroborate the Cliftons’ claims, and the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Cliftons were arrested and charged with filing a false police report in late July 2008. At the time of that arrest, Rachel Clifton was, once again, found in possession of marijuana, police said.

Rachel Clifton pleaded guilty Wednesday to filing a false report and was sentenced to two years of probation, police said. Gregory Clifton pleaded guilty to conspiracy to file a false report. The Cliftons also pleaded guilty to the marijuana charge that began this entire series of events.

"Being a police officer is a difficult and dangerous job," Chief Jackie Moore said in a statement. "Officers on the street who devote their lives to keeping the community safe should not have to concern themselves with malicious lies like the Cliftons told. We will continue to take any complaint filed against one of our officers seriously. We will also take appropriate action against anyone who knowingly files one that is false."

3 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 8/21/09 at 7:18

"Bein g a police officer is a difficult and dangerous job" when it gets to the point that there are criminals involved. DUI arrests and speeding violations do not count at least through my eyes.

By: TITAN1 on 8/21/09 at 9:02

Frank, officer Chestnut thought he was making a routine traffic violation stop, and we know how that turned out. Their job is always dangerous.

By: pandabear on 8/21/09 at 2:07

That's right.
I'm glad this couple got nailed for lying.