District Attorney General Will Not Seek Indictment Against Cannon County Sheriff’s Deputy

The Office of District Attorney General Jennings H. Jones announces that it will not pursue an indictment of Cannon County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Colwell for official oppression against Jim Gibbs former chairman of the Cannon County Republican Party.  The decision was made last week after Gibbs had sent a letter in October requesting that District Attorney Jones investigates the actions of Deputy Colwell during a Sept meeting of the Cannon County Republican Party.   Having examined all available evidence to include statements supplied by all parties that were present on the night of the event, as well as audio and video recordings it appears that Deputy Colwell had good faith belief that the argument between Gibbs and some of the other members of the Republican Party had advanced to the point that his intervention was necessary to prevent an assault from taking place attorney Jones stated. Gibbs had mentioned in his letter that he was removed from the meeting and that his video camera used to tape the meeting had been tampered with.  Attorney Jones also went on to state that Deputy Colwell was calm and non confrontational when removing Gibbs from the meeting and escorted him unharmed from the courtroom of the Cannon County Courthouse to the main floor of the building.  The punishment for  the charge of Official Oppression is harsh as the charge is a class E Felony which bears a sentence of one to six years, the loss of the right to vote, to own weapons, and the immediate removal of the Deputy from his job. Based on these factors it is the opinion of the Office of District Attorney that the punishment brought about by a charge of Official Oppression would greatly outweigh any harm that was suffered by Mr. Gibbs at the hands of Deputy Colwell.  As a result of the findings reached the Office of the District Attorney will decline to bring an indictment against Deputy Colwell for the charge of Official Oppression.  Gibbs was removed from his position as chairman of the Cannon County Republican Party.  More information will follow on that story on wbry.com