Injunction issued against former Amtrak conductor

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Feb. 24, 2001
A former Amtrak employee accused of making threats against the life of Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith and other Amtrak officials failed to appear in court Friday for an injunction hearing.
Despite Shawn Charles Knowles' failure to appear, Chancery Court Judge Jerry Mason issued an injunction against the former Amtrak conductor, preventing him from making further threats or contacting Smith or any other Amtrak board member or employee.
After hearing testimony from an Amtrak employee and from an Amtrak investigator, Mason found Knowles guilty of threatening Smith and the other employees.
Mason had issued a temporary restraining order against Knowles on Feb. 5 after Amtrak filed a complaint stating Knowles told an Amtrak employee "I will call some people and take… John Robert Smith out."
Although court records reflect Knowles has a Meridian address of 2701 Willow Bend Drive, Apt. 2005, Knowles said during a previous hearing he has not lived in Meridian since 1982. He currently resides in Georgia, he said.
The original complaint said Knowles made the threats because of a disciplinary hearing scheduled for Wednesday in which Knowles believes Amtrak officials have instructed other Amtrak employees to lie.
The original Amtrak complaint states Knowles allegedly made threatening statements regarding Smith, Gulf Coast General Manager Deborah Wetter, Assistant General Manager of "The City of New Orleans" Dave White and John T. Eldridge, service manager for The Crescent line.
Mason's order prohibits Knowles from threatening, cursing, coercing, intimidating, insulting or doing bodily harm or threatening to do bodily harm, hindering, harassing or injuring anyone associated with Amtrak.
He is also not allowed to contact Smith or any other person listed in the complaint.
The injunction will remain in place until further order of the court.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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