McClenny loses battlePublished 11:18am Saturday, December 1, 2012
BY ANDREW FAISON/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
FRANKLIN—A judge ruled Friday that the Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison wasn’t legally required to give a former police sergeant his service weapon.
Judge James Mathews said the code former Sgt. Ronnie McClenny went by for filing his suit did not prove ownership.
“I interpret this code as permissive and not a requirement,” Mathews said. “The words ‘may’ and ‘shall’ are two different words, and in this statute it is a privilege to purchase the weapon, not a requirement.”
McClenny called the judge’s ruling “fair.”
“I understand the judgment, but I don’t agree with the judgment,” he said. “I believe that ‘may’ means ‘shall’ as it is described in so many dictionaries and law textbooks.”
McClenny sued Chief Phil Hardison for the $600 value of his service weapon and $5,000 in punitive damages.
McClenny represented himself during the hearing.
He filed his suit in Franklin General District Court to find out why his service weapon was kept from him when he retired in 2009 after more than 25 years in the Franklin Police Department.
Stan Clark, Hardison’s lawyer, stated that Hardison was the wrong party being sued.
“Mr. McClenny returned his weapon when he left the department,” Clark said. “The City of Franklin owned the weapon, maintained the weapon and sold the weapon. Mr. McClenny has already sued the city and that was dismissed then.”
Retired police officers with at least 20 years of service may be allowed to buy their service weapon for $1. In a November 2010 case, a judge ruled that the City of Franklin wasn’t legally required to sell McClenny the .45-caliber Glock.
Mathews repeatedly mentioned during the proceedings the there were other avenues for McClenny to voice his concerns or complaints.
“I plan to do as the judge suggested,” McClenny said. “Next time I will have an attorney.”
“I vowed to resolve this matter within 30s year; I have 27 left,” he said.