Sheriff and Attorney respond to controversial East Ridge arrest video

Sheriff says his department will release the full body cam video of the incident

EAST RIDGE, Tennessee (WDEF) – Both the Sheriff and an attorney for the officer are asking the public to wait for the whole story on a controversial new arrest video in East Ridge.

The videos getting passed around show an officer dragging a student by the head down a gym bleacher.

An attorney for the deputy says his client is getting death threats online.

“There are people making threats against my client on social media.  The 15 second video being shown on social media is only a fraction of the event that is captured on my client’s body camera which has over one hour of video of this event. I ask those in the public threatening my client and his family to allow this matter to be investigated and cease making statements that scare some and inflame others  without knowing the whole story.”  Attorney Jerry Tidwell

Sheriff Austin Garrett says his office will release the full video from the incident, which he says shows a different story.

He says it began with a call about a fight between a student and a school employee.

“On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, one of our Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputies (SRD) assigned to East Ridge High School was called to the school’s gymnasium for the report of a disorder between an 18 year old student, Tauris Sledge, and a member of the school’s staff.

 

Upon request from school administrators for the student to be removed from the gym and proceed to the office, Sledge refused. The School Resource Deputy then attempted to place the student in custody for disorderly conduct. It was at this point a struggle began between Sledge and the SRD.

 

A brief cell phone video of the altercation surfaced yesterday on social media that presented only a short portion of the incident without any of the context that led to the event or the events that immediately followed.

 

As soon as the incident occurred, I was notified and immediately directed a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding this event. This includes a review of all documentation, cell phone and school surveillance video, and the SRD’s body worn camera footage which documents approximately one hour of the event from the initial interaction with the SRD, the incident shown in the social media video, and the events that immediately followed.

 

I understand this is a sensitive issue to many in our community. Once we ensure we are in compliance with state law and have adequately removed the identity of uninvolved minors, which includes ensuring their faces are not identifiable, I intend to make this body worn camera video available to the public. The contents of the video will show the complete picture of the events that occurred that day surrounding this deputy’s use of force at East Ridge High School.”

 

Sheriff Austin Garrett

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