Local attorney: Brady Letters to CPD could mean something bigger could be on the horizon
Robin Flores: If these officers accused of misrepresenting facts are testifying in court, it will make people ask "Can we trust our justice system in Hamilton County?"
UPDATE: “In response to several requests we have received from media organizations and in an effort to clear up any misunderstandings, Chattanooga Police Department Chief Celeste Murphy released the following information:”
- The US Attorney’s Office (USAO) does not make personnel decisions for the department. Officers were not investigated by the USAO.
- No one outside the department makes personnel decisions for the department.
- The decision to transition the officers to a non-enforcement capacity was made by Chief Murphy in the interest of integrity.
- These officers have not been terminated or demoted.
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Police Department gave the U.S. Attorney’s Office a list of ten officers, accused of misrepresenting facts.
That told Robin Flores, a defense attorney here in Chattanooga, that something a lot bigger might be on the horizon.
“Why would the federal government do this? I’ve never seen this, particularly with so many at one time. And, just to take a look at ‘Hey, we want to look at your (Internal Affairs) files … You know, this guy did this, this guy did that, and we want them out of here.’ There’s got to be something else going on that none of us know about.”
Flores says this isn’t the first time the federal government has asked for Brady Letters from the Chattanooga Police Department.
He explains if the government sees a pattern of behavior with Chattanooga’s officers, there could be several cases that could come under scrutiny.
“Falsifying records. Tampering with evidence. Misplacing evidence. I could see, potentially, dozens of prosecutions being up for review.”
District Attorney-elect Coty Wamp sees that possibility as well. She gave News 12 this statement to say she will review each officer and each case to determine the best path forward.
“In September, I plan to review each of the allegations against the recently demoted officers and make my own judgment, using sound legal discretion, to determine the officers’ ability to testify and my ability to prosecute cases in which they have been involved.”
Flores says if Wamp decides to use these officers, despite the allegations, it could further erode the public’s trust in the legal system.
“If you’ve got a prosecutor whose campaigned to have the backs of their law enforcement officers, and then you got something like this coming up, yeah! That’s definitely going to impede people’s feelings, you know, ‘Can we trust our justice system in Hamilton County?'”