Murfreesboro officer exonerated on assault charges

Murfreesboro officer exonerated on assault charges (Image 1)

A Murfreesboro police officer has been exonerated of all allegations that he assaulted a man in his driveway while off-duty.

The allegations stem back to early September when the officer attempted to arrest 20-year-old Zachary Crooks in suspicion of drunk driving.

The off-duty officer, identified as 20-year veteran Reginal Primas reportedly followed Crooks back to his house before approaching the car in the driveway.

“During the confrontation the officer smelled alcohol on this young man's breathe. The young man refused to obey the commands of the officer,” police spokesperson Kyle Evans said.

The off-duty officer verbally identified himself as a Murfreesboro police officer, but according to Crooks, he never showed any identification or a police badge.

Crooks says he repeatedly asked for identification and when none was produced he felt threatened by the officer thinking the officer might be trying to harm him.

“I would have shut up and been quiet and stayed in my car [if he showed a badge]. I would have done what he asked,” Crooks previously told Nashville's News 2 Investigates.

According to reports, there was a scuffle prior to uniformed officers arriving on the scene.

“Once the uniformed officers arrive on the scene he could have cooperated with him and his story would have seemed a little more legitimate, but he physically resisted and fought the uniformed officers who showed up in marked police units,” Evans said.

Crooks was ultimately taken into custody and charged with DUI and underage consumption.

Crooks filed an official complaint with the Murfreesboro police department.

An internal investigation by the police department has since cleared Officer Primas of any wrongdoing.

According to police, Primas did not violate any policy that calls for an off-duty officer to show identification.

“We don't think we should created a new policy at this time based on the circumstances of this one incident,” Evans said.

Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Zach's mother, Jacalyn, who called the report “very disturbing.”

“I feel unsafe and violated that any person, police or not, can chase a person into his driveway and make accusations, then use excessive force. It is unacceptable,” she said, adding, ” Had that been me I would have shot the man.”

“So on another note people impersonate officers daily and who wouldn't demand some sort of proof? I will fight for justice for Zach. Once criminal charges are complete we are filling assault charges against Reginald Primas. He grossly abused his duties as an officer. My son was scared and not a threat to this six foot, three inch 300 pound man. Also I don't condone drinking and driving ever. Truly Zach believed he was fine, just tired. This whole situation should make us all consider our choices before operating vehicles.”

The family added they plan to appeal the recent findings.

Murfreesboro police said if Crooks had any doubt who the officer was he should have called 911, which is a recommendation to anyone who doubts they are being pulled over by an officer.

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