Man says he was assaulted by off-duty officer

Man says he was assaulted by off-duty officer (Image 1)

A Rutherford County man arrested earlier this month for driving under the influence claims he was assaulted by an off-duty police officer in his driveway,

The off-duty officer believed the man, 20-year-old Zachary Crooks, was driving under the influence and attempted to pull him over as he pulled into his driveway on Plymouth Court in Murfreesboro on the night of September 1.

Crooks said as he attempted to get out of his car, the off-duty officer approached and identified himself as a police officer

Crooks told Nashville's News 2 Investigates he asked the police officer for identification, a badge or anything that would prove he was who he said he was.

“He never showed me a badge, he never really answered me,” Crooks said.

Crooks said he was afraid the man was going to rob him, exited his vehicle and prepared to walk into his home.

“I'm getting out of my car and just as I am getting out, he pushes me back in,” Crooks said.  “He says, ‘I'm with Murfreesboro police and I can tell you were drinking this morning by the way you were swerving,' and I'm like, ‘No sir, I'm just tired. That was driver's error.'”

Crooks said the off-duty officer put him in a choke hold and wrestled him to the ground.

“I'm saying, ‘Like this is crazy.' I started to push him and I said, ‘Show me a badge. Show me a badge. Prove to me you're a cop,'” he said.

Crooks continued, “He never showed me an actual badge and this guy's not in uniform and he is not in a marked car and like any other person, I was just defending myself and I'm thinking this is a shady deal going on right now.”

According to a police report, Crooks refused to get into a marked patrol car while in the custody of a uniformed police officer and that he failed a field sobriety test.

When the uniformed arresting officer asked Crooks why he didn't allegedly comply with them, the report indicates he said, “I don't know.”

Crooks, however, told Nashville's News 2 Investigates that he did not physically resist and he also denies that he was drunk and voluntarily gave consent to a blood test.

He added his rights were violated by the off duty officer and that he filed an official complaint since the man never identified himself as a Murfreesboro police officer.

Crooks is charged with DUI, underage drinking, resisting arrest among other charges.

Murfreesboro police told Nashville's News 2 they had no comment on the incident, but did say off-duty officers do have arrest powers.

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