Trial underway for man accused of shooting at CPD officers

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A trial is underway for a man accused of shooting at Chattanooga Police officers.

Body cam video of shots being fired was played at Joel Harris’ trial on Wednesday. He faces several different charges including attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

Chattanooga Police Officer Charles Darling testified saying he was responding to a
disorder with a weapon call in June of 2018.

When he arrived he says he asked Harris to come over and talk to him.

“Do you agree with me that he walked away very calmly and very slowly, almost a stroll?”

“No mam, he was passively resisting,” Officer Darling said to the defense attorney.

The video then show Officer Darling chase after Harris. The officer draws his gun.

“We were called there to a disorder with a weapon, so I was under the impression that Mr. Harris who fit the description of somebody having the firearm and was in a confrontation with another male. So possibly an aggravated assault took place. That is why I pursued Mr. Harris,” Officer Darling said.

In the courtyard shots are fired.  Another officer arrives at the scene and shoots Harris in the leg. Harris is then handcuffed.

“Why were you shooting at police?”

“He shot at me. I was scared,” Harris said in the body cam video.

Defense attorneys say Officer Darling did not need to use a gun.

“You took a situation from a level one and you escalated it, exponentially.”

Officer Darling disagrees, but says there is one thing he would have done differently.

“I wouldn’t have gone to work that day,” Officer Darling said.

Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning and then it will go to the jury.

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