Parents Want Assault Charges Against Son Dropped

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

The parents of a man charged last week with resisting arrest and assault by the Cannon County Sheriff's Department say their son was treated inappropriately by the deputies who made the arrest and want the charges dropped. The matter has been referred to the TBI for investigation.

Eric Michael Burton was charged on July 21 after CCSD deputies Matt Parlsey and Brandon Gullett went to the home of Burton's parents, Michael and Carmella Burton, on Young Hollow Road to serve the younger Burton a warrant for violation of probation and an ex-parte order of protection.

The deputies claim that Eric Burton tried to elude them and put up a fight while they were attempting to place him in custody. Carmella and Michael Burton, who were at home during the incident, claim their son cooperated with the deputies from the start and that the deputies acted inappropriately.

"I want charges against my son dropped because he put up his hands in the air and gave up and then the officer (Gullett) hit my son in the leg. That was not necessary. My husband witnessed the whole thing from the back window (of their home) and that is why he went out there."

According to the report filed by Deputy Gullett, Eric Burton refused to obey his verbal commands when he first encountered the suspect.

"I then drew my service weapon on him and ordered him to the ground," the report states. "He then turned and walked back toward the rear door of the residence. I then ordered him to get on the ground and to stop, which he refused to and I wasn't going to let him get back into the residence for fear of my safety.

"I then put my service weapon up and pulled out my baton and administered one hit to the common peronial or to the side of his leg this dropped him down to one leg. I then went to place him in custody, when his father Michael James Burton came charging out the rear door in an aggressive manor yelling starting why did I hit his son."

Carmella Burton said her husband went outside to confront the deputies only because he was concerned about their son's well-being.

"He (Eric) was hit in the back of the legs, hit in the mouth, thrown on the ground and he did receive injuries," Carmella Burton said. "We felt like they were mistreating our son. It's hard to watch your son get beat like that."

The incident reports filed by the deputies state that Gullett hit Eric Burton in the mouth after Burton spit in Gullett's face.

Carmella Burton said they filed a complaint with the sheriff's department immediately following the events.

"We had them (sheriff's department) on the phone as we saw the taillights of the patrol car driving off," she said. "We told him (Deputy Brandon Mims) that when they (Parsley and Gullett) came up here to get Eric that they hit him and we wanted a report filed and possibly later on charges filed against Brandon Gullett.

Eric Burton remains in the Cannon County Jail. Bond has been set at $17,000. His initial court date is set for Sept. 7.

"We are not going to let this rest," Carmella Burton said. "We are not going to pretend that this did not happen. They did him wrong. We were witnesses to it."

Carmella Burton also said that if the charges are not dropped, she will probably contact a lawyer about filing a lawsuit against the deputies and the sheriff's department.

When asked to reply to the charges Sheriff Billy Nichols stated, “after conferring with the District Attorney the TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) has been contacted and will conduct a requested investigation into the case.”