Former Tennessee Police Chief Indicted on Illegal Voter Registration, Perjury Charges

Former Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy was indicted on 17 felony and misdemeanor charges one day after she resigned from the position.

Murphy has been charged with six counts of official misconduct, three counts of forgery, three counts of perjury, three counts of false entry in governmental records, one count of false entry on official registration or election documents, and one count of illegal voter registration.

Murphy had been under investigation since March over allegations that she did not reside in Chattanooga.

“During the investigation, agents determined Murphy knowingly entered false information on several government documents related to establishing residency in Chattanooga, though swearing to their truth in signing the documents,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

The disgraced police chief surrendered to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. She was quickly booked and released after posting a $19,000 bond.

Mayor Tim Kelly had announced Murphy’s resignation the day before her arrest.

“This morning, I accepted the resignation of Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy, effective immediately. While the circumstances surrounding the situation have been challenging, I respect her desire to preserve the integrity of the Chattanooga Police Department,” Kelly said.

Local station WJAR reports, “Harry Sommers, who is Chattanooga Police Department’s current executive chief of police and a 40-year law enforcement veteran, will serve as Interim Chief of Police.”

Murphy is scheduled to appear in court on July 12.


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