Rutherford County sheriff defends jail music video shoot

Rutherford County jail (Photo: WKRN)

Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold is defending a recent music video shoot at the county jail, saying the video was shot in an unoccupied part of the facility and did not endanger anyone or involve current inmates.

Country music duo Secret Sisters filmed the video for their single “Rattle My Bones” inside the C-Pod of the Rutherford County Detention Center.

“This facility belongs to the public and one of the girls is a graduate from here who went to MTSU,” Sheriff Arnold said. “The inmates in the video are police officers or sheriff’s deputies within the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and they were all off-duty.”

The extras were paid $40 for being in the music video, but the sheriff said no payments were made to the county.

“The video was an employee morale booster. The guys loved it,” he said. “We had a good time. It didn’t hurt anything.”

C-Pod is not occupied by inmates. It was recently renovated and the head count in the jail is low enough to allow for the C-Pod to be unoccupied.

The sheriff told News 2 the inmates did not have to be moved or have any increased security as a result of the music video.

Arnold said that the controversy may be tied more to his re-election campaign than public concern over the music video being shot in the jail.

Arnold faces Bob Asbury in the Republican primary election May 6.

He also faces Bill Kennedy, Dale Armour and Jim Tramel in the August 7 general election, if he wins his party’s nomination. 

“It’s political,” he said.

Reaction among taxpayers News 2 found at the Rutherford County Clerk’s office was mixed about using the jail in a music video.

“If it were for the inmates I could understand bringing some entertainment into their life, but just for personal gain, I don’t think taxpayer money should be used for that,” Mercede Baker said. “I am sure they could have found a different venue to perform in versus an actual jail.”

Rutherford County resident Leigh Harrington works in video production and did not see a problem with the video shoot.

“This is Nashville it’s a music city,” she said. “So if I was looking to film a video and I could use a building that would fit the video I am all for that.”

News 2 contacted a representative for the Secret Sisters. The representative said the duo had nothing to do with picking the setting for their music video.

But, Thursday afternoon the Secret Sisters posted a message to their official Facebook page. 

It said:

Thanks so much to everyone for your kind words about our music video. We worked hard on it, and truly enjoyed our time with everyone at the Rutherford County Jail. As there have been some questions about the use of tax payer money being involved in the video, we’d like to reiterate what the jail representatives have attested to: we paid for it and the employees were not on the clock. 

We are women with a very strong moral compass and a determination to ALWAYS choose the right course, and we fully know that no lines were crossed for the making of this video, which we are proud of and can prove if necessary. Now y’all go have yourselves a good day. There’s a lot to be grateful for!

The music video premiered on Vimeo this week.

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