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Deputy injured while serving warrant to MNPS Director of Visual and Performing Arts

By Andy Cordan,


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the dangerous criminal behavior of Jeffrey Smith, the embattled Director of Visual and Performing Arts, currently on administrative leave from Metro Nashville Public Schools.

School officials have not commented on the “concerning behavior” that led to Smith being placed on administrative leave March 2.

And now, News 2 has learned that a week after this discipline, seven Davidson County deputies came to Smith’s Antioch home to serve an emergency child custody warrant.

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In the process, a long-time veteran of the department suffered minor injuries when officials say Smith bolted in his car and struck the 50-year-old warrant officer on the leg.

According to officials, after the escape by Smith in his Nissan Murano with his two children in the car, he fled toward Cheatham County.

In the meantime, Metro police investigated the incident in Antioch, and after talking to the sheriff’s office, put out a BOLO (be on the lookout) for Smith, saying he was possibly armed and dangerous and a kidnapping suspect.

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Within the hour, Cheatham County and Montgomery County deputies chased Smith at speeds close to 100 mph, and all of this happened with his two children in the car.

The chase ended in a Clarksville neighborhood, where Cheatham County deputies said the MNPS Visual and Performing Arts Director had a stun gun used on him and was pulled from his car.

He is currently in the Montgomery County Jail, charged with numerous felonies.

“We do consider these some of the most dangerous papers that we execute,” said Chief Warrants Officer Billy Lee of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Lee, four officers went to the front door and three more surrounded the house.

Lee said the lead officer knocked on the door and announced the sheriff’s office. Smith reportedly answered and asked for a few moments.

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The seven officers were at the home on the order of the courts to serve an emergency child custody order to remove Smith’s two children from his custody, Lee said.

“During our background check we did learn that he had been placed on admin leave from his job, but we had no prior history with our county, but it did give us a heightened sense of alert,” he explained.

According to officials, after a few minutes of waiting, the now-battered garage door opened, and officials say the orange Murano, driven by Smith, with his children in the car, backed rapidly out of the garage.

“One of the officers was in the driveway, as the vehicle was backing out, it turned into the yard, and it did clip one of my officer’s knees,” Lee said.

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Twenty-six-year veteran Warrant Officer George Johnson III scrambled to get out of the way, but the car struck the 50-year-old in the leg.

He is doing fine. He is doing fine,” Lee said. “Fortunately, it was just a nick. He was cleared from the scene by ems.”

But Lee and everyone else out there realized that a few inches either way and this could have been a much different story.

The 50-year-old warrant officer was treated and released at the scene.

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Because of this alleged assault, Smith has one more charge against him in Metro — a felony for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a first responder.

According to MNPS, Smith has been the director of visual and performing arts since Oct. 26, 2018.

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