Cyclists Don't Matter - And Response

Friday, January 17, 2014

I smell a rat. Let's see, we have a guy that rides his bicycle on the roads of beautiful TVA Raccoon Mountain for training/exercising. I personally have seen him one to two times a week doing this. He never causes trouble, just quietly riding.

Then a few days ago while riding, his life is inches away from ending by a 3,000-pound truck purposely speeding by him. A short time later the suspect(s) come hunting for him again but with accomplices and a different vehicle. The suspects find their victim and are now out of their vehicle even though the victim is preparing to leave. It's during this time, the victim/cyclist is maced. CPD does a good follow up, confessions made.

Now enters Marion County. A deputy tells the victim what he can post or cannot post on the Web. Sheriff says its a. "He said He said" case. Did I mention "Confession"? Does he know he can subpoena the city officer? Does the Sheriff think this lone cyclist all of a sudden made up this story for attention as well?

Yes, I'm a 26-year retired cop but the handling of this felony case is unreal. Warrants should have already been sworn to and arrests made.

Sheriff, go and protect and serve and maybe you and your department start taking your yearly "inservice training" more seriously.

Michael Burns

* * *

It has been a bad few months for Marion County.  First we have the MCHS football coaches vandalizing their own facility and then the former mayor of South Pittsburg goes to jail for illegal gambling.  Now, we have this incident at the TVA Raccoon Mountain facility.  

I can certainly understand that the Sheriff's Department investigator wants to get to the bottom of this case. However, from all the reports, evidence, and, most notably, confessions in the presence of a law officer, there seems little doubt that the young men in the truck(s) were the aggressors who both harassed and assaulted a defenseless cyclist.  

As a cyclist myself who has had experience with vehicular harassers, I feel for Mr. Swanson who, I believe, was harassed and assaulted that day.  Having said that, perhaps the greatest indignity of this incident was being treated as a potential criminal instead of a victim of a senseless criminal act.

I realize that there are two sides to every story and, clearly, I wasn't there, but if this incident goes unpunished, it will be another black mark on an already bad year for Marion County.

Jim Nelson

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