Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold told the press Tuesday that he suspects Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and “Formation” music video may have led to a shooting outside his Murfreesboro, Tennessee home. The officer reported hearing eight gunshots outside of his house Monday around 9 PM. He yelled for his wife and two young children to get down on the ground and only had time to notice a dark gray Nissan Altima on the street outside before it sped away.
Arnold showed a local TV channel .22 caliber shell casings found outside. His neighbors also confirmed hearing shots around the same time. While the motive for the incident remains unknown and Murfreesboro police are still investigating, Arnold stated at a press conference that he has his own ideas about why he may have become a target.
“Once I kind of figured everything out you know, with everything that’s happened since the Super Bowl, and with law enforcement as a whole, I mean I think we have lost five to seven officers, five deputies and sheriffs since Sunday’s Super Bowl. You know, that’s what I am thinking. You know here is another target on law enforcement,” Arnold said.
When asked to clarify what about the Super Bowl he was referring to, Arnold responded, “You know, Beyonce’s video and how that’s kind of led over into other things it seems like, about law enforcement.”
Then, when asked why he, specifically, would have been targeted in the shooting, Arnold said there was no reason he could think of “other than me being in my position, being the chief law enforcement officer in the county.”
Truth be told, the Sheriff of Rutherford County is in deep shit of his own–pending lawsuits naming him indicate there could be a lot more going on here than simply anti-law enforcement sentiment being stirred up by music videos with sinking patrol cars or dancers with Black Panthers’ outfits.
Robert Arnold’s house, for example, was featured prominently in the media in May 2015 as both the FBI and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations raided his home and office in a public corruption investigation. Arnold was discovered to be selling contraband to prisoners in an illegal operation owned by his aunt and uncle along with Rutherford County Chief Deputy Russell. The business, called JailCigs, was discovered when Arnold listed e-cigarette sales to inmates as a source of income.
Additionally, just a few days ago the parents of Rutherford County inmate Robert Lee Johnson filed a $20 million lawsuit against Arnold and other officials after their son was left without cognitive function after a near-death beating in his jail cell. The parents allege that Arnold and others knew that Johnson’s attacker, Guy Mitchell was unstable and dangerous, yet acted recklessly on behalf of the inmates due to overcrowded conditions.
The Daily Beast recorded these other lawsuits that demonstrate’s Arnold’s less-than-favorable record in his community:
In 2014, Detective Jim Tramel won a $275,000 settlement after it was determined he was fired by Arnold for his political beliefs. When asked to comment on the settlement, Arnold told the Murfreesboro Pressin October 2014 that “it’s been resolved.”
Arnold was sued again for the same reason in August of last year. McKayla Black contends she was unjustly terminated after supporting an Independent candidate for Sheriff. Arnold, a Republican, won 51.9 percent of the vote in 2014. The case is set to be heard later this year. The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Arnold’s comments on the deaths of “five to seven officers” relate to news reports on a couple of unrelated incidents since Super Bowl Sunday. A gunman opened fire into a crowded restaurant on February 10th resulting in a shootout killing two Maryland deputies. February 11th Fargo officer Jason Moszer was killed by a domestic violence suspect during a standoff. An Atlanta officer was shot and killed serving a drug warrant at an apartment complex the same day.