Philadelphia, TN — Over the years, the Free Thought Project has reported on utterly asinine situations in which cops senselessly or accidentally fired their weapons in public places. Some of these places were schools, airports, day cares, and other various establishments in scenarios in which guns should never be fired. We now have a new location and scenario to add to the list — a patrol car, while playing Russian Roulette, in traffic. Despite endangering the lives of his partner and everyone on the road that day, the officer who shot through his patrol car's window while playing a deadly game, was never fired.
Claiborne County sheriff's deputy Noah Arnwine is probably not the smartest cop on the force. Backing up this claim is the fact that on November 2, 2018, while riding in the passenger seat of a county cruiser, Arnwine pulled out a loaded .38-caliber Ruger emptied all but one chamber, pointed the gun at the windshield and pulled the trigger "as if he was playing Russian roulette," according to his partner.
His partner, Deputy Cody Lankford was so distraught by the deadly idiocy of Arnwine that he actually called his supervisor to report the incident. This is what good cops do. However, despite firing a pistol into traffic and endangering the lives of countless drivers, Arnwine kept his job. When listening to Lankford's description of the incident, the idea of Arnwine keeping his job is insane.
"It was just so crazy, I'm still in awe over it," Deputy Lankford, who was driving at the time, says on a recording obtained by Knox News. "I slowed down and started watching to see if anybody started flipping end-over-end because they got the back of their head blown off. ... I hate that he's probably going to lose his job, but he needs a job where he doesn't get to handle a gun every day."
"Between the muzzle flash and being temporarily deafened, it took me a second to think of what exactly to do," he said, speaking to his supervisor. "(You) may need to call hospitals around Philadelphia, Tennessee, and make sure no one showed up with an unexplained bullet wound."
But Arnwine never did lose his job. Instead the department swept it under the rug.
As Knox News reports:
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Mark Ellis, the former assistant chief deputy who investigated the shooting, says Claiborne County Sheriff Bob Brooks ignored his advice that Arnwine be fired, kept the case quiet and instead forced Ellis out over a struggle with a jail inmate.
That struggle, which ended when Ellis used a stun gun to subdue the inmate as he fought with half a dozen officers, led to Ellis' indictment on charges of assault and official oppression — what his attorney calls a case of selective enforcement and retaliation.
Arnwine "put several lives in danger" and "also put the life of his fellow officer at risk," Ellis wrote in his report at the time. "I recommend that Officer Arnwine face immediate termination and (be) charged with reckless endangerment. ... It is also my recommendation that Officer Arnwine should pay for the county property he destroyed while (he) so foolishly and negligently handled a firearm."
This never happened, and Ellis was punished instead — in spite of Arnwine admitting to the act.
"My client was told to forget this matter, that there would be no disciplinary action, and 'this never happened,'" said Ellis' lawyer, T. Scott Jones. "My client steadfastly adheres to his position that his authority was undermined by the chief law enforcement officer of the county — the sheriff, Bob Brooks. That's why they've manifested this intent to persecute him over this case."
When Knox News asked the sheriff about why Arnwine kept his job, the sheriff offered no explanation and instead said, "It must be a slow news day if you're asking about this."
There you have it. A bored cop can shoot a pistol from inside a patrol car, while on duty, endangering the lives of everyone on the road, while driving 80 mph, and face no consequences. When another cop tries to hold him accountable, that cop — not the one who fired a pistol inside a vehicle — is the one to be fired and charged.
This is the state of policing in America.