A large piece of porcelain hate mail left outside a Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, home for a drug investigator and the rest of the world to see bought the writer a trip to jail for disorderly conduct. Patti M. Cole, 48, who is employed at Mt. Pleasant Middle School, was jailed on Wednesday and released on $1,000 bond for allegedly scrawling an obscene message on a broken toilet and leaving it in the front yard of a home she owns. The message was directed at Sgt. Rob Wagonshutz, a member of the Maury County Drug Task who had arrested Cole’s daughter at the Adams Avenue home on March 1. It read, “[Expletive] you, Rob Wagonshutz” on the toilet bowl, and on the tank set on end next to it, “Rob Wagonshutz special place in hell for u and urboys!”
Wagonshutz lives nearby with his wife and three children, including a 9-year-old son who shares his father’s name. In describing the arrest of Cole’s daughter, Allison Michelle Powell, 30, Wagonshutz said he and other drug officers had gone to the house to serve an arrest warrant, knocked on the door, and when Powell didn’t answer, broke it in. “When we entered the house, she was trying to flush drugs down the commode,” Wagonshutz said, adding that Powell was taken to jail after officers took the toilet apart and retrieved the evidence that was stuck deep inside. Powell remains in Maury County jail in lieu of $150,000 bond, charged with possession of meth with intent to sell and promotion of the manufacture of meth.
On Wednesday morning, Wagonshutz was alerted by sheriff’s deputies to the obscene message on the toilet left outside the house. He filed a complaint and investigators learned that Cole was carrying a photo of the toilet. “Apparently Patti Cole had been to the school where she works that morning and had a picture of the toilet on her phone and was showing it to employees and bragging about it,” Wagonshutz said. A report on the incident says an investigator went to the school and spoke to Cole. “She stated she could do that because it was her property,” according to the report. “She also agreed that it shouldn’t be there and stated that she would leave immediately to take it down.”
She did, investigators obtained a warrant for her arrest, and took her into custody. Wagonshutz said that while some might view the incident as an example of free expression, investigators and the district attorney’s office didn’t agree and Cole was charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by no more than 30 days in jail or a $50 fine. “Since she used the language she did, it took a step beyond freedom of speech and turned it into disorderly conduct because it created a physically offensive condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose,” he said. “No parents would want their children to have to read that,” he continued. “Had she used different language about me, the sheriff’s department or the drug task force as a whole, it wouldn’t have gotten this far at all.”