Fired Chattanooga Police Officers Get Hearing

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 6/26/2013 7:47 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF)-- Two Chattanooga police officers who were fired last year for using excessive force get their chance to appeal that decision.
The hearing is being conducted like a trial, with legal representation and a Nashville judge.
It featured the full video of the event from June 14th of 2012.

It started as a call to police reporting a disorder at the Salvation Army building on McCallie.
It involved federal inmate Adam Tatum....and officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley responded.
What followed was a lengthy effort to put Tatum under arrest..and a subsequent scuffle with Tatum who refused to roll onto his stomach and be cuffed.
Investigators counted at least 44 strikes with a police baton by Emmer that broke both of Tatum's legs, and several facial punches by Cooley that were not according to training.
But Tatum also had issues that night.

ALEXIS MERCADO, POLICE INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATOR "The suspect's medical records quoted him as telling medical personnel that he had done a lot of cocaine during that time, this apparently caused the defendant to feel little or no pain and to be abnormally strong ."

Both Emmer and Cooley had attorneys who pointed out that it was three months after the event before they were fired, and that Emmer fully cooperated.

SUSAN BLAINE, FORMER INTERNAL AFFAIRS COMMANDER "Both officer Smith and Emmer used their batons..officer Smith used mace at some point in here and also his tser I thoughtball of those were justified at that point because Tatum was actively resisting."

The harshest indictment of the actions by the two officers came from police Chief Bobby Dodd.
Using evidence presented by his staff and the original hearing both officers got, Dodd says there were numerous violations of department rules during the violent episode.

CHIEF BOBBY DODD, CHATTANOOGA POLICE DEPARTMENT "This is one of those situations where it was very unfortunate, I do think it was unreasonable..I think it was excessive and something I couldn't subject the citizens of Chattanooga to."

The appeal is scheduled to continue Thursday morning at city hall.
Afterwards, Judge Kim Summers has 15 days to make her decision whether or not to reinstate the officers.

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