Tennessee father-son police officers beat up arrestees, feds say

Grundy County Sheriff

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Grundy County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tony Bean (left) and his son, Sgt. T.J. Bean, pose for their official sheriff's office portraits.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A father-son duo of sheriff’s deputies in rural Tennessee for years beat up handcuffed arrestees, failed to report their uses of force, discouraged other officers from turning on their body cameras and bragged that their behavior was “the Grundy County way,” federal prosecutors alleged in recent court filings.

A grand jury in July indicted Anthony “Tony” Bean, the chief deputy at the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, and his son Anthony “T.J.” Bean, a sergeant at the same agency, on federal civil rights charges stemming from two alleged assaults.

But prosecutors said in a Dec. 31 court filing that they have compiled additional evidence showing the Beans altogether assaulted seven people over a five-year span in a pattern of misconduct that pervaded the culture of their small law enforcement agency and scared potential witnesses into keeping quiet.

The new excessive force allegations mark the latest trouble for the sheriff’s office in Grundy County, a poverty-stricken community with a population of about 13,000 that sits 45 miles northwest of Chattanooga.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum received an award.

In less than two years, the agency — which Sheriff Clint Shrum estimated has a total of 40 deputies, school resource officers and jailers — has fired a jailer after allegations he had sexual contact with female inmates, decommissioned a deputy indicted on manslaughter charges in a woman’s shooting death and saw yet another deputy hit with federal charges he assaulted a handcuffed man.

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