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Cop Indicted for Making Up Shooting Story

Oakland, Tenn. police officer Joshua Martin, seen in a booking photo, has been indicted on charges of filing a false police report and tampering with evidence after he allegedly lied about being shot during a routine traffic stop on Christmas Eve 2009. He said his police badge stopped a potentially fatal bullet.
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What was called a Christmas miracle now has a former Tennessee police officer facing charges, reports CBS affiliate WREG in Memphis.

On Christmas Eve 2009, Oakland, Tenn. officer Joshua Smith said he was shot by two Hispanic men during a routine traffic stop - and that his police badge stopped a potentially fatal bullet.

Now Smith has been indicted by a grand jury for making up the story, which made national headlines at the time.

Smith's former boss, Oakland Police Chief Keith Hogwood, said that a bullet did indeed hit Smith's badge that night - when Smith laid his badge on the ground and fired. Hogwood said that the evidence against Smith is strong. The one question he still can't answer is the officer decided to lie.

"It turned out to be something way different than he reported," Hogwood said.

He said Smith has admitted to investigators that he shot his own badge, and that he also fired several rounds out on Highway 64 to stage a crime scene.

"He's refused to tell us why he did it, he's refused to tell us that," said Chief Hogwood.

Smith's story unraveled quickly. During an interview in December, Smith told WREG, "Right at my chest, pulled it up, pulled the trigger, it was so fast."

But Hogwood said that "the injuries weren't consistent with the injuries you have when you get hit with a bullet at close range." Smith should've had a large purple bruise, as if he was hit with a bat, he said.

According to medical records, "All he had was redness to the chest - he really didn't have any injuries," Hogwood said.

And what about the Hispanic suspects driving an SUV? Hogwood said Smith did pull over a vehicle that night that fit his original description. However the men inside were black, not Hispanic. And the only thing the driver did wrong was forget his driver's license.

"He did tell me he didn't plan for that certain vehicle, he planned to make up a vehicle," said Chief Hogwood.

No one answered the door at Smith's Memphis home. The former cop who adamantly told reporters for months his story was true, so far has had nothing to say about the charges.

"There's good officers, bad officers, there's good reporters, bad reporters in every profession, he just happened to be one of the bad ones," said Chief Hogwood.

Smith posted a $25,000 bond and was released Monday afternoon. He faces up to 12 years behind bars for charges of filing a false police report and tampering with evidence. His next court date is scheduled for Wednesday.

Though he was fired last month, WREG has learned he collected a few workman's comp checks from the police department, just as he did with former employer MLGW.