Joshua Barnes, a former Memphis Police officer, has been indicted on charges of stalking a former girlfriend and illegally installing a tracking device on her car, according to the Shelby County District Attorney's Office.
Barnes, who resigned from the Memphis Police Department (MPD) in January, is being held at the Shelby County Jail on a $100,000 bond for previous stalking charges and for violating an order of protection.
Barnes' former girlfriend told police in January that Barnes had stalked her on several occasions, and she feared for her safety. An automotive shop discovered a tracking device had been installed under her car, so she took the device to the MPD's Union Extended office. Barnes was then spotted in his truck in an adjacent parking lot.
In other law enforcement crime news, two female deputy jailers have been relieved of duty without pay pending an investigation into the women attempting to smuggle contraband into the Shelby County Jail on separate occasions.
Jailer Brianna Hawthorne reportedly attempted to bring a cell phone battery into the jail, but the battery was caught by a security scanner. When she was told to empty her pockets at the security checkpoint, Hawthorne allegedly tried to conceal the battery in her hand. She's been indicted on charges of bringing contraband into the penal facility and tampering with evidence.
Jailer Domonique Williams was stopped by security on June 1st as she attempted to enter the jail wearing a Samsung Smart Watch. Williams had allegedly been allowing inmates to send and receive phone calls or text messages with her watch, according to the Shelby County District Attorney's Office. She's been indicted on charges of introducing contraband into the jail.
Williams has filed a lawsuit against jail and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office regarding the indictment. Her attorney Sean Antone Hunt claims the jail had no policy against smart watches. The sheriff's office has asserted that her watch was attached to a cell phone, but her attorney says a smart watch must be within 10 meters of an active and paired cell phone with Bluetooth to function as a cell phone. He released a statement saying Williams did not have her cell phone with her at the time she was caught wearing the watch.
According to Hunt's statement, "AFSCME Local 1733, the labor union that represents the deputy jailers, denounces the treatment of these employees stating that they were denied due process in that they were never given a pre-disciplinary hearing. They were suspended without pay and ordered to remain in their homes for over two months. They have yet to be formally advised of the charges against them – and they have not yet been given an opportunity to defend themselves."