JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — If a former special prosecutor suing Johnson City and its police chief didn’t report police corruption allegations to the local district attorney’s office, City Manager Cathy Ball wants the local DA or Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to conduct its own preliminary investigation.
Ball’s office hand-delivered a letter to District Attorney Ken Baldwin Wednesday that specifically mentioned a paragraph referencing potential police payoffs in Kateri “Kat” Dahl’s June 23 federal lawsuit against Johnson City police chief Karl Turner and three unnamed police officers. Turner’s signature is also on the letter.
The section references a “Jane Doe 8” — an alleged rape victim of the man known as “Robert Voe” who is central to the lawsuit — and says she and other witnesses Dahl spoke with said “Voe” got away with criminal behavior “By paying Johnson City Police officers off.”
Dahl’s suit says Jane Doe 8 reported seeing Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) officers exchanging “unknown things” with “Voe” at his condo that made her “fearful that ‘Voe’ was bribing law enforcement at Johnson City.”
Ball’s letter references the lawsuit’s claim that Dahl knew who the officers were based on Jane Doe 8’s description of their appearances and voices.
It states Ball’s presumption that Dahl would have reported any evidence of potential police corruption to Baldwin’s office and says if Dahl didn’t, the city wants the DA or TBI to launch a preliminary inquiry.
Any full investigation, the letter says, would be based on evidence Dahl possesses and “her ability to identify Johnson City officers she is accusing of corruption.” In a footnote, it adds that Turner and the city don’t know the identity of Jane Doe 8.
The city’s legal answer to Dahl’s lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court references the letter as well, saying that if Dahl hasn’t “already reported her alleged ‘evidence’ of corruption” to authorities “Johnson City and Chief Turner demand that she do so immediately.”
While Dahl’s lawsuit does not explicitly accuse JCPD or any officers of corruption, it does allege there was either corruption or “plain incompetence” that led to the failure to apprehend “Voe.”
Before it mentions “officers she is accusing of corruption,” Ball’s letter also acknowledges that “she appears to allege” the department, Turner “or at least certain officers” are corrupt.
The answer in court is more direct. It states “Dahl accuses unnamed Johnson City officers of receiving pay offs by ‘Voe.'” It also states that the city and Turner will request that Dahl and “Jane Doe 8” be interviewed as part of the preliminary investigation.
“The City of Johnson City and Chief Turner will cooperate fully with your office and/or the TBI in any investigation considered warranted by your office based on the allegations made by Attorney Dahl,” the letter states. It was also sent to Dahl’s attorneys.
News Channel 11 has emailed Baldwin’s office asking whether Dahl had already presented evidence to them regarding this particular corruption allegation or whether, if she hasn’t, they have plans to launch a preliminary investigation or solicit one from the TBI.
You can read the letter here: