Deputy in viral DUI checkpoint video has checkered past - WNEM TV 5

Deputy in viral DUI checkpoint video has checkered past

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

Channel 4 News has learned some new information about the Rutherford County sheriff's deputy who is seen in a viral video at a July 4 DUI checkpoint.

Deputy AJ Ross has faced scrutiny in the past and has actually worked for the department on two different occasions.

His personnel file shows Ross left the sheriff's department in 2004. He resigned instead of being terminated after failing to show up to testify in court on a day when he had dozens of criminal cases on the docket.

He also missed a grand jury appearance, according to the file.

On top of all that, Ross lied about having insurance when he rear-ended someone in his pickup truck, the file shows.

Video of the DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, already viewed millions of times online, was recorded by a member of the Libertarian Party and raises questions about drivers' rights at checkpoints.

"It's nearing 3 million YouTube hits. Just with my name being on the press releases, my email and phone is just being bombarded," said Axl David, communications director for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee.

The Libertarian Party says the deputies had no reason to search the driver's car, although one legal expert who viewed the tape at Channel 4's request thought the search was justified because the driver was uncooperative when the deputy requested the driver to lower his window.

"When he says, 'This is fine,' and he doesn't have to lower it any further, right there at that point, the officer is permitted to escalate the degree of confrontation with the citizen. The officer can ask him to roll the window down or pull the car over," said attorney David Raybin.

The Middle Tennessee State University student who recorded the video says he does not plan to file a complaint with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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