Caryville woman being paid $80,000 over wrongful arrest

Caryville woman being paid $80,000 over wrongful arrest

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"We had a lady come in and wanted to sell us a bike. We took all the information that we needed and bought the bike from her," explained owner Tina Gregg. "We had a lady come in and wanted to sell us a bike. We took all the information that we needed and bought the bike from her," explained owner Tina Gregg.
Gregg went on to sell that bike, following all the rules and paperwork. Soon, she was being charged with theft over the incident. Gregg went on to sell that bike, following all the rules and paperwork. Soon, she was being charged with theft over the incident.
Assistant Chief J.J. Hatmaker (source: Jellico Police Department) Assistant Chief J.J. Hatmaker (source: Jellico Police Department)

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

CARYVILLE (WATE) – The City of Jellico is paying a Caryville woman $80,000 as a settlement after she says she was wrongly arrested. The lawsuit was filed against the City of Jellico and the Jellico Police Department by the owner of Caryville Pawn Shop.

"We had a lady come in and wanted to sell us a bike. We took all the information that we needed and bought the bike from her," explained owner Tina Gregg, about how it got started.

Later, she says Assistant Chief J.J. Hatmaker from the Jellico Police Department came inquiring about the possibly stolen bike. It was for a case outside his jurisdiction in Kentucky.

"J.J. Hatmaker came in saying he was picking up some information. We gave him the information to pass along to his friend in Williamsburg, Kentucky," she explained.

Gregg went on to sell that bike, following all the rules and paperwork. Soon, she was being charged with theft over the incident. For whatever reason, she believes she was targeted.

"I don't know what his personal vendetta was against me. But he did make a statement to my employees saying that he was going to put me in my place," she said.

The case eventually went to court, where the charge against her was dismissed.

"I don't think there ever was a ‘stolen motorcycle', it was a boyfriend girlfriend bad break up, I believe," Gregg said.

Tina and her lawyer then sued the city of Jellico. They agreed to a settlement of $80,000.

Assistant Police Chief Hatmaker has responded, saying "The City of Jellico has denied all wrongdoing. The City of Jellico will not pay a dime to anybody. The city's insurance company has settled with the family."

"Oh no, I believe they very much had wrongdoing. To pay someone $80,000 is a big punch. And I assume if they are paying premiums, they are 100% responsible for paying that money," Gregg said.

She says what happened to her is a lesson to anyone being intimidated by an authority figure.

"To stand up for your rights, matter if it's a police officer or not. That doesn't make it right," Gregg said.

Tina's next step is opening up a new, larger pawn shop called Tina's Mega Pawn. She hopes it will be the largest one in East Tennessee.

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