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Woman admits she lied about police picture
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An internal investigation by McMinnville Police Department into an incident involving an officer parked in a handicap parking spot has uncovered the picture was authentic, but other information was a lie.
“The officer was parked in a handicap parking space,” said McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton. “That part of the incident was true. The information that was given with the picture was not.”
In an interview with the Southern Standard on Monday, Amy Stinnett, formerly Amy King, said she took the picture at 12:04 p.m. on May 18 with her cellphone in front of Kroger after she observed an officer parked in a handicapped spot. When she entered Kroger, Stinnett said she saw the officer, who appeared to be shopping.
However, Denton determined during his internal investigation  the officer never entered Kroger, was actually parked in front of JC Penney, and that Stinnett was not the person who took the picture.
When confronted with that information yesterday by the Standard, Stinnett confessed to lying about the incident.
“I lied,” she said. “I did it, and I’m sorry. After I left your office, I felt bad about it. I really did. I was talked into doing it. I don’t know why I went along with it. I apologize to you and the police officer. I wasn’t trying to get anyone in trouble.”
Denton said he was determined to uncover the truth, especially the part about his officer shopping while on duty.
“Parking in a handicap space was probably an error in judgment, but the part where my officer was shopping now that really got to me,” said Denton. “I assumed if the officer went into the store it would be to gather information. As it turns out, she never went into the store.”
Denton says video from Kroger confirms his officer never entered the store.
“My officer said she never went into Kroger,” Denton said. “When I reviewed the store’s cameras, it confirmed she did not go into the store. After pulling the times, she was gone from the scene by noon. Stinnett couldn’t have taken the picture at 12:04 p.m.”
Requests to have Stinnett come into the police department for an interview have been unsuccessful.
“When we called her, she started making up every excuse under the sun as to why she could not come in,” said Denton. “She didn’t seem anxious to make a statement. I knew she was not being truthful about what really happened.”
The final piece of fable fell into place when local resident Joseph Holland walked into the police department Wednesday and confessed to taking the picture and sending it to friends – one of those being Stinnett.
“That was my picture,” Holland said. “Amy Stinnett, but I know her has Amy King, didn’t take it. I sent it to her. She lied about taking it and being at Kroger. I just don’t know why she did it.”
Holland says when he saw the article in the paper with the picture, he contact Stinnett via cellphone.
“Like I said, I know her as Amy King, so the first thing I asked her is what her last name is,” said Holland. “She replied Stinnett. That’s when I knew it was her and what she had done.”
The picture was taken at approximately 11:34 a.m., but was sent to Stinnett at 12:04 p.m.
Follow-up texts from Holland to Stinnett have not gotten a response.
“Now she’s not responding to my texts or calls,” said Holland. “I can’t image why she would do this. I’m still shocked about it. I took that picture because I thought it was funny. I did not take it to make trouble for an officer.”
Holland says the officer was indeed on call.
“When I took the picture, I didn’t see the officer. She was standing next to an SUV talking to a woman, and I knew she had to be on a call. It wasn’t until later that I found out it was a hit and run.”
Holland says he wishes he didn’t take the picture, in light of the way the picture was used to portray the officer in a negative way.
“I shouldn’t have taken the picture,” he said. “If I had known it would be used in a dishonest way, I wouldn’t have. I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes in my life, but I try to be honest.”
Denton credited Holland for his honesty.
“I appreciate Mr. Holland coming forward and helping us with this. He could have just sat back and not came forward, but he did. It’s nice to know there are still honest people out there.”
Denton said the false claim cost the police department about eight man hours of work to investigate.