Oakland officer addresses hoax investigation

By Lori Brown - bio | email

OAKLAND, TN (WMC-TV) - The Oakland police officer who said his badge stopped a suspect's bullet spoke out for the first time Saturday.

Officer Joshua "J.J." Smith maintained that his badge saved his life on Christmas Eve when a suspect he pulled over shot him.

"All I can do is tell the truth, Smith said.  "That's what I've done."

Smith was amazed that the bullet happened to hit his badge.

"Of all the places on my body, it hit an area that's about two by four," said Smith.

Smith said he understood the need for an investigation, but hoped it would not hurt his reputation.

"I am upset because it's put my name through the mud," Smith said.  "Someone says I hung my badge on the fence and shot it. Crazy."

Smith said the allegations against him come down to politics.

"People who want the Mayor and current administration out of office are trying to discredit me, because if they do that, they discredit the Chief, and therefore the Mayor," Smith said.

The husband and father of two children said he had nothing to gain by making the story up.

"I put my life on the line for this job," said Smith, "and this is how I get treated?"

Chief Hogwood said officers with his department have to go through a psychological evaluation before they are hired.

Before becoming an Oakland officer, Smith spent a couple of years as a reserve officer with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.  A spokesperson said he left the department voluntarily.

Smith said there is nothing on his record expect for minor traffic violations.  
Chief Hogwood said Smith is still on leave, but he is expected to be back on the job soon.

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