On December 1, 2020, Ethan Calton – a Rutherford County resident – lost his life when Rutherford County Sheriff Deputy Tyler Greene – the head of the Interdiction Team of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office – fired one fatal shot directly into the center of his back. Sheriff Chris Francis immediately engaged in a media campaign in which he represented that Calton was “brandishing” a firearm at Deputy Greene, Deputy Dylan Henderson, and Homeland Security Agent Joseph Magilton as the officers were serving a routine arrest warrant according to the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Francis contacted the SBI to investigate the shooting. Meanwhile, Sheriff Francis continued participating in interviews with various media outlets, providing a narrative that Calton threatened the officers with deadly force – all while omitting that Calton was killed while facing away from the shooter, Deputy Greene.
When RC Catalyst initially reported the officer-involved shooting and witness accounts, a number of questions remained unanswered. Foremost amongst those was why the three officers present during the incident had aggressively leveraged numerous confidential informants to provide Calton’s location during the three (3) days prior to Calton’s death.
The warrants at issue were:
- months old;
- could have easily been served on Calton long before this incident; and
- from the information made available by Sheriff Francis, did not appear to necessitate the involvement of a Homeland Security agent.
After these questions were initially raised, members of the community began contacting RC Catalyst with information that yielded increasingly troubling answers.
Calton’s family members and friends explained that Deputy Greene frequently spent time with Calton in the months preceding his death. Deputy Greene and Calton had grown up together and maintained contact. Since Calton was last released from prison on June 6, 2020, Deputy Greene, according to Calton’s friends that spoke with RC Catalyst, was well-aware that Calton was selling narcotics and that Calton had outstanding warrants for his arrest.
However, according to Calton’s wife, Danielle Calton, Ethan had repeatedly stated that Deputy Greene would warn him of any roadblocks or police presence near where Calton was located. Calton had also stated that this information allowed him to sell drugs with impunity, as well as avoid being served with outstanding warrants.
Several of Calton’s close friends provided similar information.
In an interview between Jarvis Tate and RC Catalyst, Tate recalled many specific instances where Deputy Greene, as well as Deputy Chadd Murray – the head of the Narcotics Team for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office – had contacted Calton to notify him of instances in which law enforcement was in close proximity to where Calton was engaging in drug transactions.
In the weeks leading up to the fatal shooting, however, Calton began making statements to his family and friends that he was fearful that he would be killed by the police. According to reports, at the same time Ethan began expressing concerns that he may in danger, Ethan also indicated that he was in possession of information regarding widespread corruption in the Sheriff’s Office. Calton would not disclose any details about this information to his family and most of his friends, explaining that doing so would place them in danger.
Calton did, however, share this information with several of his friends that spoke with RC Catalyst. As one example, Jarvis Tate stated that Calton had recorded a conversation between Deputy Wilmer Chavez-Perez of the Narcotics Team and Blaire Crawford, who was being forced to work as a confidential informant at the time. Tate, who had listened to the recording (and was once in possession of much of the information Calton had compiled), explained that Deputy Perez attempted to solicit sexual favors from Crawford while Deputy Perez was acting as Crawford’s handler. Based on Tate’s recollection, Calton was present with Crawford and recorded the entire encounter.
In speaking with Crawford, she explained that Deputy Perez had become increasingly flirtatious and suggestive leading up to the incident. On the day that Deputy Perez made his direct solicitations of her, Crawford recalled being in a hotel room with Calton when Deputy Perez placed a call to her cellphone. When Deputy Perez asked what Crawford was doing, Crawford answered that she was just getting out of the shower. Deputy Perez immediately began making inappropriate comments, requesting pictures, and attempting to have Crawford start a live video stream to comply with his solicitations.
As soon as Deputy Perez’s intentions became clear, Crawford placed Deputy Perez on speaker phone where Calton was able to hear the entire conversation. Although Crawford indicated that she wanted to end the call, Calton began recording the encounter and encouraged Crawford to let the situation play out. Crawford agreed and Deputy Perez was caught in a lengthy recording soliciting sexual favors from his confidential informant.
In addition to several individuals who have asked to remain confidential for fear of retaliation, both Tate and Crawford explained that Calton had compiled significantly more damning information regarding the Narcotics Team, including a murder and extensive cover up that led to the deaths of multiple other individuals who were housing the information Calton had secured. Due to the nature of ongoing investigations, RC Catalyst has agreed to temporarily withhold disclosure of the additional information provided by a number of individuals with knowledge of the situation. Additional details will, however, be reported in the near future.
Based on the information provided in response to the original article on Calton’s death, it appears that the deputies on the Narcotics Team and Interdiction Team discovered that Calton had assembled a significant amount of information regarding corruption at the Sheriff’s Office and that he planned to release that information publicly in short order. At that point, these officers began aggressively trying to locate Calton. Although it is not yet clear whether Deputy Greene will be charged for fatally shooting Calton, Crawford and Tate have already suffered the consequences Calton was concerned would befall his wife if he had provided her with any information he had in possession.
On the same date as Calton’s death, an assailant (who will not be identified) drugged Crawford while she was in the assailant’s room, severely beat her, and dragged her into a park in the middle of the night where she was left to die. Although Crawford was fortunate to survive, the Sheriff’s Office refused to press charges against the attacker. In attempting to justify this decision, the Sheriff’s Office stated that criminal charges could not be pursued because Crawford was unable to recall what transpired after being drugged unconscious in her attacker’s room.
Within days of Jarvis Tate disclosing that he was in possession of the information Calton had assembled, Tate expressed concerns to several of his friends that he was going to be killed. Just as Calton correctly predicted his own death, Tate was killed several days after making these statements on January 22, 2021. Although RC Catalyst has agreed to withhold additional details regarding Tate’s death until releasing the remaining information Calton had in his possession, it should be noted that, as of this writing, no charges have been filed against the man who took Tate’s life.