Goodlettsville officer on leave after aggravated assault charges
GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. -
A veteran Goodlettsville police officer accused of two counts of aggravated assault is on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Officer James Moore, son of the city's vice mayor, was arrested following a domestic violence call that occurred at his mother's Debra Drive home the day after Christmas.
According to an affidavit obtained by Nashville's News 2 Investigates, 21-year-old Anthony Mooneyhan said vice mayor Jane Birdwell accused him and his girlfriend, who is Birdwell's granddaughter, of stealing money.
After the couple denied taking any money, the affidavit stated Birdwell called Moore who reportedly came to the home and began yelling at the couple and accusing them of theft.
According to the arrest report, Moore allegedly grabbed his niece by the wrist and put her in a police hold.
"But he twisted [her wrist] so far I thought he would break it. I was just hoping we could leave and he was threatening to kill us," Mooneyhan said. "I told him I took [the money] so he would stop. Then he started hitting me three times open-handed in the face."
Mooneyhan also told Nashville's News 2 Investigates by phone Moore repeatedly raised his shirt to display his gun, as well as pulled a knife and displayed it in a threatening manner.
"He pulled his knife out of the sheath, you know how you take it and pass it from one hand to the other, and he put it to his own throat, and told us, ‘This is what I want to do. I want to put it to one side of your throat and watch your eyes get wide as your life fades out,' Mooneyhan recalled, adding, "It scared me. That was insane."
Mooneyhan said after he was allegedly struck and pretended to confess to taking the money in an effort to get away, he and his girlfriend had to walk, because Moore would not give him back his car keys.
"After leaving the house we walked to a friend's house. I was going to let it go, but [Moore] wouldn't give me back the keys to my car. So we called the police and filed a police report, I didn't want him coming back and hurting [my girlfriend]," he said.
Mooneyhan added, "He should be in trouble and not be allowed to be around her. After we left the house, she was running. She was literally running. She was so scared. We just wanted to get out of there. [We were] afraid for her safety and my safety."
Nashville's News 2 Investigates spoke with Officer Moore by phone who said the incident is "all false."
"I didn't do anything," Moore said. "They were caught stealing. I went over there because they are part of the family. I wanted them to ‘fess up and give the money back."
He continued, "I took my jacket off. I am a police officer, I do have a gun. I didn't threaten them. I shook his hand when they left and they told me they would bring the money to the family. I wake up this morning and there's all this. None of this is accurate."
In the arrest report, Officer Moore did admit to holding his niece by the wrist and pushing Mooneyhan in the face because he said the 21-year-old came up on him.
Moore also told arresting officers, he was wearing his weapon at the time, but did not pull a knife on anyone.
Moore has since been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. He was jailed on a $6,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court next month.
Moore has been a Goodlettsville police officer since 1995.
Vice mayor Birdwell has declined to comment on the incident.