Bodycam video exonerates Knox County deputy in groping case

Margaret McElhinney (source: KCSO)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Bodycam video is being used to defend a Knox County deputy after a woman claims she was groped. She now faces charges of making a false report.

Margaret McElhinny was initially pulled over for a DUI check on November 8. When she was taken to the jail, she claimed she was groped and fondled by the arresting officer.

Deputies say the bodycam video showed no evidence of groping and that McElhinny was intoxicated. In the video, it shows McElhinny pulling over on the wrong side of the road off Highway 33 in Halls. While the deputy was taking her information, McElhinny also gave the wrong name.

KCSO says this is an accusation that they do not take lightly. Investigators say the case was cleared quickly because of the body cameras worn by the officer accused and three others there to help.

“That accusation hanging over an officer’s head can be very detrimental to his career. This is a good officer who did absolutely nothing wrong and was accused of a vile crime, a Class B felony. This is very serious and these cameras we put in place to protect the public from bad officers and to protect our officers from the bad public,” said Lee Tramel the Chief of Administration at KCSO.

McElhinny has been arrested and charged with making a false report. KCSO is not releasing the officer’s name because they believe in this case he is the victim.

Investigators say filing a false report is a Class D felony which can mean one to three years in a penitentiary.

We also obtained McElhinny’s criminal history, the records list her as a habitual motor vehicle offender, that’s why her license has been revoked with DUI’s going back to 1997.

Copyright 2015 WATE. All rights reserved.

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