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Ringgold Police: Officer fired for inappropriate contact with women in person, online


An internal investigation by the Ringgold Police Dept. found that Sgt. Martin engaged in inappropriate contact with four women, both in person and online. He was fired in June. (Photo of Sgt. Martin taken from Ringgold Police Dept. Facebook page).
An internal investigation by the Ringgold Police Dept. found that Sgt. Martin engaged in inappropriate contact with four women, both in person and online. He was fired in June. (Photo of Sgt. Martin taken from Ringgold Police Dept. Facebook page).
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The Ringgold Police Department fired a sergeant back in June after an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior, NewsChannel 9 has learned.

A 59-page report obtained by NewsChannel 9 goes into detail about the actions of Sergeant Scott Martin that led to his termination (scroll down to read the full report).

The report says that on June 14, Police Chief Dan Bilbrey called for an internal investigation into Sergeant Martin after several women came forward to speak about their experiences with him, both in person and over social media.

In the police report, one of the women interviewed said Sgt. Martin sent her a private message her on Facebook, saying she was “cute” and that his wife thought so too. The woman said between June 10th and 13th, his messages became more sexual, and she repeatedly told him she wasn’t interested.

Watch Kiley Thomas' 6 p.m. coverage here:

According to the report, the woman said Martin became "very persistent and pushy" about meeting up with him for sex, telling her she would "love it," and he’d be fine "just watching her and his wife." The report says after ignoring his messages, the woman finally responded “oh my god STOP” at which point he stopped and blocked her.

That wasn't the only woman who reported such advances, according to the report.

The detective assigned to the case spoke with another woman who works at Northwestern Technical College, where police say Sgt. Martin worked a side job for campus security. She told investigators that on February 6th, 2017, Martin sat in one of her classes for about 15 minutes. The next day, she said the messages started. She said he called her ‘sweetie’ and ‘stinker,’ and she described the messages as ‘creepy,’ saying he asked her to keep them a secret from police and everyone at the college. She told police she was so uncomfortable that she avoided social media, and tried to avoid him on campus as much as possible.

A third woman said her experience with Sgt. Martin began at her workplace, the First Bank in Chatsworth. She told the detective she met Martin when he came in to change his address and get a new debit card after getting divorced. She said he pulled her aside and told her how he felt about her, but that he knew she was married and respected that.

Later that day, the woman said he added her on Snapchat. She told the detective the messages were innocent at first, and she thought he was looking for a friend after his divorce – but he started asking for inappropriate photos, and she told him no and that she wouldn’t cheat on her husband. According to police records, she said he then sent her a picture of his penis. She told him they wouldn’t be talking any more, blocked him, and told her husband.

In the investigation, she said Martin tried to visit her several times afterward, coming to the bank to say he was visiting an aunt who worked there, and mouthing the words ‘I’m sorry’ to her, but she ignored him.

She said he eventually started dating and married a woman who used to work at the bank, and made a joint Facebook account, which he used to try to get her and her husband to go on a double date with them. They turned him down. She says he then started another Facebook account and contacted her again, asking her to have sexual encounters with them, and when she refused, asked her to refer her friends to them. She said she ignored his messages, and blocked him from her account.

During the investigation, Ringgold detectives discovered Martin had previously applied to become a police officer in Chatsworth, but was denied. His background report at that police station showed Counseling Solutions at Chatsworth fired him in 2016 for inappropriate sexual comments towards another counselor. But according to Ringgold PD's records, Martin didn't list this job on his application.

Another incident in that Chatsworth background check showed an allegation made by a student when Martin worked for Murray County Schools. She said she received texts from him that made her uncomfortable. It was determined that none of those texts violated the law, but were inappropriate at the least.

The report concludes that Sgt. Martin committed a total of five policy violations:

  1. Engaging in off-duty activities that reflect discredit on employees, bring the agency into disrepute, or impair its operations,
  2. Not conducting himself toward the public in a civil and professional manner as a police officer,
  3. Not conducting himself toward the public in a civil and professional manner as a police manager/supervisor,
  4. Making a public statement that could be reasonably interpreted as having an adverse effect on the perception of the public, and
  5. Making statements that could reasonably be considered to represent the Ringgold Police Department.

On June 21, Ringgold Police Chief Bilbrey sent Martin a letter, saying the investigation's findings were sustained, and he was hereby terminated.

Read the internal investigation report below. (Note: The names of all of Sgt. Martin's accusers were redacted by the Ringgold Police Department before releasing the report).

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