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UPDATE: Former CPD Chief Celeste Murphy indicted on 17 charges

UPDATE: Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp made the following statement on X following Murphy's indictment:   PREVIOUS

UPDATE: Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp made the following statement on X following Murphy’s indictment:

 


PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says former Chattanooga Chief of Police Celeste Murphy faces 17 counts of felony and misdemeanor criminal charges.

 

On Thursday morning, Murphy surrendered at the Hamilton County Jail where she was booked and released on a $19,000 bond.

 

On Tuesday, a Hamilton County Grand Jury indicted Murphy on the following charges:

  • 1 count of Illegal Voter Registration
  • 1 count of False Entries on Official Registration or Election Documents
  • 3 counts of False Entries in Governmental Records
  • 3 counts of Forgery
  • 3 counts of Perjury
  • 6 counts of Official Misconduct

 

During the TBI’s investigation into her residency, agents determined that Murphy knowingly entered false information on documents related to her residency in Chattanooga while she swore to the truth.

 

The Fraternal Order of Police has released the following statement on the resignation and indictment of former Police Chief Celeste Murphy:

“It is a disappointing day for law enforcement when an Officer or Chief is indicted for acting outside the law and tarnishes the badge we all proudly wear.

We appreciate the thorough investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

We will support our interim Chief and will offer our support to the Mayor’s Office in the search for Chattanooga’s next police chief.

While we are entering a time of uncertainty, our resolve to provide exceptional front- line services to the residents of Chattanooga remains steadfast. They deserve and expect that from our Membership.”

 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says their investigation into Murphy’s city of residency is still open.

 

PREVIOUS STORY: After serving as the Chief of the Chattanooga Police Department for just over two years, Celeste Murphy has tendered her resignation.

 

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly accepted the resignation of Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy Wednesday.

 

Murphy resignation letter

Questions have surrounded Murphy’s tenure in Chattanooga, from her city of residency and the Brady letters, which prompted the reassignment of 15 CPD officers, and was later overturned.

 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says their investigation into Murphy’s city of residency is still open.

 

In May, 2024, Murphy extended her employment contract with the City of Chattanooga for another year, which was approved by Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly.

 

A news release from Kelly’s office said:

“This morning I accepted the resignation of Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy, effective immediately. While the circumstances surrounding the situation have been challenging, I respect her desire to preserve the integrity of the Chattanooga Police Department,” said Mayor Kelly. “The brave men and women of CPD serve our community with distinction every day and over the past 2 years, Chattanooga has seen significant reductions in crime and CPD has grown their reputation as national leaders in community policing, violence reduction, crisis co-response, and solving cases. Under Chief Murphy’s leadership, the department has achieved a homicide investigation closure rate of more than 90%, which is roughly double the national average and is a testament to the strong relationship CPD has built with the community they serve. Public safety is the foundation of healthy communities, and finding the right person to lead the Chattanooga Police Department as our next Chief of Police is mission critical.”

 

Kelly’s office said that Harry Sommers, CPD’s current Executive Chief of Police and a 40-year law enforcement veteran, will serve as Interim Chief of Police.

 

Before coming to Chattanooga, Murphy served in the Atlanta Police Department, starting as a patrol officer and rising to Deputy Chief before her move to the Scenic City.