7/19/07

Teamster police union rep is a convicted felon

Nashville-Davidson County Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas said he had no idea a convicted felon is one of the union representatives for many of his officers. He said, “I don't know his name. I've never met him.” Joe Bennett is the man at the center of the latest controversy involving the Teamsters. Bennett was booked into jail over a decade ago and now works to represent Metro's men and women in blue.

News 2 obtained documents showing details of Bennett's arrest in Hickman County. In 1989, he was convicted of conspiracy to take human life and solicitation to commit murder for hiring a hit man. He served time in prison. Chief Serpas said, “The Teamsters were elected by the officers over a year ago to be their reps in relationships with the government.”

When the Teamsters were elected, many police officers didn't know the Teamsters local chapter employs a convicted felon. “Not only is it morally wrong to be involved in an organization who employ convicted felons, it's also against our policy to associate with convicted felons,” said one Metro officer who is a member of the Teamsters.

Chief Serpas said he's never heard of Bennett, but stands by his policy that his officers should not associate with convicted felons.

News 2: “If there are convicted felons that deal with Metro Police, are you concerned because it is policy to not do business with convicted felons?
Serpas: “Yeah, that's the first I’m hearing that. I’m never met with him… so he's not presented himself to me as a representative of the police officers.”

Bennett is the teamsters local 327 secretary-treasurer.

“To know a man who conspired to commit murder have access to my financial information bothers me. He might use that money for personal gain,” said the Metro officer.

News 2: “Police doesn't do business with convictedfelons?”
Serpas: ”I believe that to be true.”

Bennett and the Teamsters were not available for comment.

(wkrn.com)

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