Former Oakland officer charged with making up badge story

Joshua Smith (Source: Fayette County Sheriff's Department)
Joshua Smith (Source: Fayette County Sheriff's Department)

By Janice Broach - bio | email

OAKLAND, TN (WMC-TV) - A former Oakland police officer who claimed his badge saved him from a bullet on Christmas Eve has been indicted by a Fayette County grand jury.

Joshua Smith turned himself in Monday to the Fayette County Sheriff's Department.  He bonded out a short time later.

Smith is charged with two counts of filing a false report and one count of fabricating or tampering with evidence.

Smith claimed that he had been shot in the badge by one man and threatened with a knife by another during a traffic stop on U.S. 64 about 1 a.m. Christmas Eve. Doubts about his story led to an investigation.

There's been no reason made public about why Smith might have fabricated the story.

Oakland Police Chief Keith Hogwood refused to comment Monday on the matter.

In a January interview with Action News 5, 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 at the time. "That's what I've done."

Smith said 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," he said.

During the January interview, 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," he said. "Someone says I hung my badge on the fence and shot it. Crazy."

In the interview, 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?"

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. The AP contributed to this story.