A Kingsport police officer suspended earlier this year when he was arrested on domestic assault and vandalism charges will not be prosecuted further, according to the assistant district attorney in the case.
David Johnson, 37, has been suspended without pay since being indicted on the charges — domestic assault, vandalism over $500 and criminal trespassing — in July. Prior to the indictment, Johnson was on paid suspension.
He was accused of trespassing in Gwen Easter’s condo, and while waiting for her to return home, Easter claimed Johnson cut up her clothes, urinated on her bed, then assaulted her and her boyfriend, Jared Beasley, when they arrived.
Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks said Friday that after investigating the case to prepare for trial, which was scheduled to start Monday, he chose to dismiss the case.
“I elected to move for dismissal of the case with input from the victim, as neither side really wanted a trial,” Brooks said. “Any civil legal terms are being handled by the civil attorneys for both sides.”
Brooks declined to comment further on the dismissal “out of respect for both sides.” Johnson’s attorney, Lisa Rice, said she was “pleased the state has dismissed the charge.”
If an Order of Protection hearing in April was any indication, the trial was sure to bring out embarrassing testimony and evidence for both sides. Sexually explicit and verbally abusive text and voice messages were a large part of the hearing.
Easter voluntarily withdrew her petition after Johnson’s attorney, Lisa Rice, introduced a texted photo Easter sent to Johnson of her midsection, specifically the area covered by a bikini bottom.
Earlier indications were that Easter was bare in the photo, but she said later she was wearing a swimsuit bottom.
Easter and Johnson’s dating relationship, while just a few months long, occurred while she was still married, according to testimony at that hearing.
Johnson apparently thought the two were still dating when the encounter occurred April 3 and he discovered she was dating another man. The day before the incident, Easter sent Johnson a text that said she loved him and would call him soon.
His attorney said during a May court hearing that her client had wanted to marry Easter.
The alleged incident at Easter’s condo April 3 started around 8 p.m. Easter and Beasley had been hiking at Bays Mountain, and when they returned to her condo in Gray, Johnson was there. He had used a key Easter gave him, but she said he only had permission to use it in an emergency.
Easter testified that she asked Johnson to leave and he asked her why she didn’t love him or want to be with him.
Easter said Johnson took a swing at Beasley but missed when Beasley ducked. She said she put her hands on his chest and then he put his hand at the base of her neck and shoved her away.
In the meantime, Beasley had retrieved a handgun from his pick-up truck and told Johnson he would protect himself. Johnson left and Easter called 911.
Beasley also testified at that hearing that Easter told him she had broken off her relationship with Johnson and “he wouldn’t leave her alone.”
Johnson is a 10-year veteran of the Kingsport Police Department and was working as a K9 officer when he was arrested. KPD started an internal investigation into the allegations, and the conclusion was dependent on the outcome of the criminal case.
A call to the KPD about Johnson’s status at the department was not returned Friday.