- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014
Memphis bystanders defend police officer in attack

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Police in Memphis say bystanders helped subdue a pedestrian who climbed into a squad car and reached for an officer’s gun.

A police news release says the officer saw the suspect walking in traffic Saturday afternoon and trying to hit passing cars. According to the release, suspect Alphonso Johnson reached into the squad car window and tried to grab the officer. Police say he crawled in the vehicle, tried to undo the officer’s holster and yelled: “Give me your gun; I’m going to kill you.”

According to the release, people watching from the corner ran to the car, pulled the man out and helped subdue him until more officers arrived. The officer avoided serious injuries and was working Sunday.

Shelby County jail records show that Johnson, 27, was being held on charges of attempted first-degree murder and resisting arrest. Neither police nor jail officials knew if Johnson had a lawyer.


Chattanooga exploring light rail transportation

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Chattanooga leaders are exploring an ambitious plan to provide a $35 million light rail public transportation system there.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (https://bit.ly/1fIEhb6) the city council has asked the U.S. Transportation Department for a $400,000 grant to study the idea. If approved, the city would have to chip in another $300,000.

Although many details still have to be worked out, the plan calls for leaning heavily on existing tracks to which the city can acquire the rights.

“Even though you may have just one track, there’s a 12-foot right of way on either side of the existing line, so it’s pretty easy to add additional capacity and not very expensive,” said Ron Harr, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s getting the main right of way that costs so much money in other places.”

If the project goes through and is successful, advocates say it could redefine the way people move about the city, breathe new life into depressed parts of town and help Chattanooga’s business core.

Critics say that if it fails, it could expose the city to millions of dollars in operational costs to maintain an untested system that may not take people where they want to go.


Revenue official fired for bogus sales tax returns

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A state Revenue Department employee has been fired for filing sales tax returns without permission from taxpayers.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (https://bit.ly/1jswNbbhttps://bit.ly/1jswNbb ) Eugene Johnson’s job was to seek payment for delinquent sales tax. He is accused of filing bogus returns in order to clear the cases assigned to him to enhance his performance rating on employee evaluations.

A working phone number for Johnson could not be found in the telephone directory.

Revenue Department spokeswoman Kelly Nolan Cortesi told the paper in an emailed statement that she could not provide the number of taxpayer returns or the amount of tax payments involved because the case is under investigation. The department also is investigating whether other employees were involved.

The district attorney general will decide whether to pursue criminal charges.



US Senate hopeful Carr files financial disclosure

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - State Rep. Joe Carr describes himself on his campaign website as a farmer and small businessman, but a financial disclosure form filed on Friday shows most of Carr’s income last year came from his salary and per diem allowances as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (https://bit.ly/1hpqLnE) the Lascassas Republican who is hoping to defeat Sen. Lamar Alexander listed a salary from the state of a little over $28,000. He earned just over $2,000 from cattle sales and another $19,000 as a consultant for a Murfreesboro automotive repair company.

Carr says in his campaign website that he and his wife own Cedar Snag Farm, but he did not list the 95-acre farm near Murfreesboro among his assets.

In filings with the state Legislature since 2008, Carr has alternatively said he owns and doesn’t own Cedar Snag Farm. Currently, the website of the state Agriculture Department identifies the owner of Cedar Snag Farm as Bill Jakes.

But Carr says he lives on the family farm, and his campaign manager, Donald Rickard, told the paper that Cedar Snag is the name of the Carr family farm.

The newspaper could not reach Carr to explain the differences.

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