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Trooper resigns after being disciplined

AP • Nov 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM


Records show a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper has retired after being

disciplined for not allowing the state's only black female appellate

judge into the Supreme Court building.

The Tennessean reports the discipline memo from Department of

Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons says Trooper

Brent Gobbell was reprimanded and docked one day's pay due to the

incident. The paperwork said he turned away Court of Criminal Appeals

Judge Camille McMullen, who was trying to drop off paperwork for another

judge on June 14.

"Upon Judge McMullen presenting you with her

official judicial identification card, you refused to take it into your

possession and verify its authenticity. Instead, you told Judge

McMullen, 'Those are easy to come by.' You were implying that her

identification card could possibly be fraudulent without knowing what

kind of identification she was presenting," Gibbons wrote.

Gobbell allowed McMullen to give the paperwork to a clerk, who passed it along.


trooper later apologized by email, but records show he was disciplined

because his actions displayed "an utter disregard to proper procedures

regarding accepting proper procedures and allowing appropriate personnel

access to the Tennessee Supreme Court building."

Among the rules

and regulations that Gobbell's actions violated, according to the memo,

was a provision that says state employees "shall not express any

prejudice concerning race, religion, politics, national origin, life

style or similar personal characteristics."

Gobbell was suspended

for 15 days without pay in October 2009 and ordered to undergo diversity

training after he forwarded an email that declared "white pride" to

other state employees.

He later apologized for the email, saying it was sent by accident.


who became the first black woman appointed to the Court of Criminal

Appeals in 2008, had filed a complaint against Gobbell for refusing to

admit her into the building.

A department spokeswoman says Gobbell, who was hired in 1983, has retired since the incident took place.

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