Nautical naughties a no-no
It’s time to pour on the sunscreen, throw on the flip-flops and crank up The Beach Boys for some fun, fun, fun in good ol’ K-town. We might not have the ocean but we do have the beaches — scores of them, by every lake, river and pond. Most importantly, however, we know how to freaking Party here, as the archives of our proud law enforcement agencies show most vividly. And if there’s anything you learn from a career spent reading tens of thousands of police reports it’s that, wherever humans go, hubris, pathos and intoxicants follow….
It was Friday, June 18, at that time of the evening when the horizon is beginning to glow orange and red as the sun wraps up another day’s journey across the heavens. It’s almost always a perfect hour in East Tennessee, and it’s even better if you can watch the nightly display of celestial fireworks reflected in the waters of Fort Loudoun Lake, along with the sight of a 44-year-woman and her 58-year-old male paramour battling one another like Greek titans on the deck of a sailboat in the middle of the river.
A call came into the E-911 Center at 8:11 p.m. from the Concord Yacht Club at 11600 Northshore Drive (yes, Knoxville has a yacht club and no, you can’t afford to be a member). The complainant said that he could see two people in a sailboat on the water who appeared “to be in mutual combat with each other and arguing,” prompting several Knox County officers to begin converging on the waterway.
Before they could get there, however, they were told that the male half of the altercation had leaped from the boat and was now trying to swim to shore. When the waterlogged man climbed onto the riverbank a few minutes later, lips busted and a bit tired from swimming halfway across the lake after a day of heavy drinking, he was greeted by Officer Kyle Bothof. In turn, Bothof soon found himself writing down the man’s story for posterity in that most overlooked of literary genres, the American police report.
The man explained that he and his girlfriend had started off the day as just another couple out to enjoy the water — as well as copious amounts of alcohol — but soon fell to arguing. According to the report, the disagreement was over the woman’s arbitrary decision to begin dating other men, a choice which prompted the man to grab her cell phone and dial up one of her new paramours “to let them know what she was doing.”
The woman didn’t like that at all. She launched herself at her boating buddy, arms and fists flailing, and managed to bust open his lips. “Mr. — stated he had enough of the situation, therefore, he jumped off the boat to get away from Ms. —,” the report said.
The officers managed to catch up with the female half of the altercation a few minutes later on a nearby boat ramp. She confirmed that the fight started over her boating partner calling the other man, then escalated when she tried to get back her phone and he shoved her away. She claimed that she’d only hit him defensively to keep him away from her, and Officer Bothof noted that she had minor injuries that correlated her story.
Any hopes the officers may have harbored that the complainant (and only witness) could make it clear who was at fault were soon dashed. He said the man had apparently been working on the boat’s motor when the woman started yelling and approached him, “to which they mutually started shoving and slapping each other again prior to the male jumping into the water,” the report said.
Confronted with two highly agitated, highly inebriated members of the region’s upper class who’d engaged in a hand-to-hand naval battle over the virtues of swinging while drunkenly plowing through the water, the officers (wisely, it should be noted) decided they had better things to do than play the role of King Solomon. Bothof concluded the official account of the skirmish on Fort Loudoun Lake with the following passage, quoted here verbatim, exactly as it’s forever enshrined in the archives of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office:
“It was apparent to officers that both subjects were drinking heavily during the altercation which made it extremely difficult to obtain consistent statements from either party. Due to conflicting statements of what occurred, lack of more physical evidence, and the parties involved intoxication level, officers were unable to determine a primary aggressor, therefore, no arrest was made. Both parties refused medical treatment on the scene. Both parties were advised of their rights regarding domestic violence and given a Family Crisis Blue Card. The parties were separated before officers left.”
A 34-year-old West Knox County man called the police on June 20 to report that he was being blackmailed over — what else? — nudie pics on the internet.
When the officer who was assigned to the case dutifully arrived at the victim’s front door, the man explained that someone (he didn’t know who) was demanding that he send $600 or else they “would send all of his nude videos and photos to some of his family.”
The man explained that the whole mess had started because he was needing to make some cash and he became drawn into the promises made by anonymous website, promises that his passionate nature could not resist (note: the victim’s tale is long on pathos but short on proper names as well as common sense).
“The victim said that he made a mistake and created a profile on a website that he did not want to name, to make some extra money. He said that he posted some photos and videos of him doing things that he isn’t proud of on this site. The victim said that he immediately began getting text messages from an unknown person … making threats,” the officer wrote in the subsequent incident report.
As you can imagine, things like proper names can be exceedingly important when it comes to successfully investigating and prosecuting crimes. Still, the officer did their best to at least offer some advice to the recalcitrant Romeo, namely to “screenshot and block the numbers and to not send money to them.”
Sage counsel, indeed.
Tales of the Scruffy City is compiled from public records provided on request by the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and other government agencies. We do not identify the citizens who appear in these reports in order to protect their privacy. Many of those who appear in police reports are guilty of nothing more than having a bad day, while even those who are formally accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty. Tales of the Scruffy City is Copyright 2021 by Hard Knox Wire.
J.J. Stambaugh may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published on July 12, 2021