Yesterday, the Knoxville Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigator interviewed me about what happened. I fear my friend Wendi Thomas may be right, “Nothing will come of this.”
I recounted my story, but his questions were definitely geared toward showing that Officer Matthew Janis acted reasonably in those circumstances. It’s like the police would rather protect each other rather than keep us safe.
Highlights from the interview:
- Would a reasonable person identify the unmarked car as a taxi? Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft use unmarked cars. Would you have thought that it was a taxi if it pulled up in your driveway or your neighbor’s driveway? Yes, Uber and Lyft are common methods of transportation. Would you be 100% sure? Of course not 100%. No one is ever 100% sure of anything.
- Did you knock on the homeowners door? No, I talked to her by phone on Tuesday and told her I would at her house Wednesday afternoon.
- Were you handcuffed? Did Officer Matthew Janis put his hands on you? Did Officer Janis yell at you? No, he pointed his gun at me. I did not think I was free to leave.
- Was Officer Janis cordial? Not even a little bit. I tried to have a casual conversation about his brown Labrador retriever. I tried to keep situation calm. I tried to talk to him about his mother-in-law. He simply nodded his head. Neither his posture nor his attitude were friendly. He acted as if he couldn’t believe that I bought the truck. He basically watched me as we waited for deputies to arrive. There was nothing cordial or friendly about our exchange.
- What was in your bag? Registration, bill of sale, license plate, screwdriver, big pliers, maybe a long sleeve shirt and maybe small folding buck knife.
- Anything else you want to add? Just because Officer Janis didn’t yell at me, handcuff me or touch me does not take away from the fact that force was used to keep me there. I was basically held at gunpoint against my will.
The Internal Affairs officer said the investigation could take at minimum two weeks to conclude because they need to interview more people, but he wouldn’t identify who else would be interviewed. I said they typically mail the results. I told him that I prefer a phone call and an email.
They’re trying to wait us out. They are hoping this will blow over, and you, my friends, will forget about this. They don’t realize that this isn’t about Tonya Jameson. We’re fighting for all of the people that this (and worse) has happened to who didn’t have an army of influencers propping them up.
We are their voice.