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Fulton officer keeps job despite arrests

BY CORIANNE EGANcegan@paducahsun.com

A Fulton City police officer who has been arrested three times in the past two years remains on the city payroll, and officials are staying mum as to his future.

Robert S. McKnight, 54, was hired two years ago. Before that, he had an arrest record. McKnight was arrested in Memphis, Tenn., for allegedly driving under the influence. The charge was amended to aggravated assault in September. When McKnight failed to appear in court, he was indicted for contempt and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The first arrest occurred out of state and before McKnight's time with the Fulton police. He was arrested again by a co-worker on May 17, 2013.

According to the Fulton County court clerk, he was charged with fourth-degree assault. He was taken into custody a second time a few weeks later by the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, when he changed the name listed on his surety bond. The clerk noted that the second arrest and booking is standard procedure to change a name on a surety bond. The fourth-degree assault charges were dropped in August, and McKnight was never prosecuted.

Two of the four Fulton City Council members - Danny Prater, Billy Milliken, Jeff Vaughn and Martha Vowell - told the Sun that the council had not been briefed on this matter. The city manager's office, along with the mayor's office, did not return phone calls on Thursday. The Fulton City Police Department noted that Chief Terry Powell would be back in the office on Monday.

McKnight was in court in Memphis on Thursday afternoon. The Shelby County court clerk said McKnight was allowed to leave after his appearance. The judge set a second court date for May 7. He is still facing charges of aggravated assault and failure to appear. 

Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.

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