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Former Chattanooga Police Chief Charged in 17-Count Indictment

The former police chief of the Chattanooga Police Department, Celeste Murphy, is facing a 17-count indictment for felony and misdemeanor criminal charges following an investigation by special agents of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

At the request of District Attorney General Pro Tem D. Michael Dunavant, TBI agents began investigating the residency of Celeste Murphy (DOB 6/6/1968) in April. Dunavant was appointed by the Court to serve as District Attorney General Pro Tem upon the recusal of 11th Judicial District Attorney General Coty Wamp. During the investigation, agents determined Murphy knowingly entered false information on several government documents related to establishing residency in Chattanooga, though swearing to their truth in signing the documents.

On Tuesday, the Hamilton County Grand Jury returned a 17-count indictment, charging Murphy with one count of Illegal Voter Registration, one count of False Entries on Official Registration or Election Documents, three counts of False Entries in Governmental Records, three counts of Forgery, three counts of Perjury, and six counts of Official Misconduct. This morning, Murphy surrendered to agents at the Hamilton County Jail, where authorities booked her and subsequently released her after Murphy posted an aggregate $19,000 bond.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations of criminal conduct and not evidence. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and convicted through due process of law.