Officer shown choking suspect has history of suspensions

WKRN News 2 | July 1, 2008

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating after video shot from inside at Mt. Juliet patrol car shows an officer choking a suspect.

The video shows Officer William Cosby with both hands around the neck of suspect James Anders.

The incident began with a traffic stop.

Officer Cosby said he smelled burning marijuana, ordered Anders out of the car and told him to spit out something he had in his mouth.

Cosby then put one, then both hands around Anders' neck and squeezed in attempt to keep he from swallowing drugs in a technique called "vascular restraint."

Cosby: "This is for your own safety sir."
Anders: "You're gonna choking me."
Cosby: "I'm gonna choke you so you can't swallow anything else.  That way it's gonna prevent you from having some kind of [overdose]."
Emergency personnel were called to the scene, but Anders he refused treatment. 

Cosby didn't find any marijuana in Anders' mouth but did find a small bag of the drug inside his car.

Anders was arrested for simple possession of marijuana, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence. 

After reviewing the tape, the district attorney dropped charges and handed the tape over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Cosby was given a written reprimand for the incident for unbecoming conduct during a traffic stop.

He is still on the force.

Anders' attorney has photos showing bruises and an abrasion on Anders' head from the incident. 

"It looked to me like he was hurting and choking my client," said attorney Garry Vandever.

"The department did feel that was appropriate and we will also wait and see what the response is from the TBI," said city attorney Jason Holleman.

The investigation is ongoing.

Before joining the Mt. Juliet force, Cosby worked for the Lebanon Police Department where he was suspended on two separate occasions.

In 2003, Cosby was part of a traffic stop involving Ben Corning of Mt. Juliet.

Cosby was accused of beating Corning with a night stick.  The Lebanon Police Department settled with Corning, for $250,000.

Corning passed away in August 2007.

In 2005, an arrest Cosby made for a DUI case was thrown out in court.  Dash-cam video showed a different story than the report Cosby wrote.

Cosby arrested Mt. Juliet High School baseball coach Mark Purvis for DUI, but the video from that arrest shows Purvis was not intoxicated.

A judge ruled the stop was illegal.