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Sheriff named by Moncier in harrassment lawsuit

Knoxville lawyer Herbert Moncier filed a lawsuit Friday, Sept. 26, on behalf of a Sheriff’s Department employee who has been temporarily assigned to the Detention Facility. Officer Eric Brefini was recently instructed to surrender his department-issued weapon and was moved to the Detention Facility.

Brefini was reassigned following a series of events in which he made statements that raised concerns about his ability to serve in an armed capacity. These episodes followed an investigation into allegations Brefini’s girlfriend, Melissa Dawn Ward, made against her employer, Knox County Property Assessor John Whitehead. Ward alleged that Whitehead made unwanted sexual advances towards her in his office. The Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation into these allegations and presented the findings form that investigation to District Attorney General Randy Nichols. Nichols determined that the allegations were unfounded and the investigation was closed.

Moncier frequently files high-profile lawsuits against public officials, which often gain substantial media attention. Among the agencies Moncier has sued are the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, the Blount County Sheriff’s Department and the city of Clinton. He is often seen on television in both interviews and during court proceedings.

This most recent lawsuit, which was filed in Knox County Circuit Court, is estimated to be the 27th filed by Moncier against the Knox County Sheriff, KCSD officials said, with most still pending in court.

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