published Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Collegedale police accused of racial profiling Hispanics


From July 31, 2009 — July 31, 2010


White: 2,769; 88 percent of total

Black: 361; 11 percent of total

Hispanic: 8; 0.2 percent of total

Written warnings:

White: 880; 88.5 percent of total

Black: 95; 9.5 percent of total

Hispanic: 10; 1 percent of total


White: 642; 72 percent of total

Black: 147; 16.5 percent of total

Hispanic: 96; 11 percent of total

Source: Collegedale Chief of Police Brian Hickman

Marta Monzon’s son was driving through Little Debbie Parkway in Collegedale on July 4, when an officer on a motorcycle followed him for about a mile before stopping him for having an expired tag.

And that was not the first time he had been stopped on his way to Ooltewah.

Mrs. Monzon, who lives in Collegedale, spoke at the City Commission meeting on Monday about how many Hispanic residents feel some officers might be racially profiling. Mrs. Monzon is Cuban, while her sons are part Puerto Rican and part Cuban.

“They even interrogated my 15-year-old son who had nothing to do with anything,” she told the mayor and commissioners.

Collegedale Police Chief Brian Hickman said racial profiling is against the law and his officers don’t do it, but if anyone has a problem, they should contact the police department to file a complaint.

Luis Valtierra, who was not present at the meeting but let Mrs. Monzon share his story, said he has been stopped a couple of times, including once when he was allegedly told by the officer he knew he was Mexican and didn’t have a driver’s license.

Mr. Valtierra, who doesn’t have a driver’s license, said he hadn’t violated any traffic laws before the officer stopped him at a red light and since then he has decided to relocate to Ooltewah.

“I do feel they are stopping anyone who looks Mexican,” he said.

Out of 3,148 citations given from July 31, 2009 through July 31, 2010, 88 percent were to whites, 11 percent were to blacks and only .2 percent to Hispanics, according to information provided by Chief Hickman.

During the same period of time, 888 arrests were made. Out of those, 72 percent were of whites, 16.5 percent of blacks and 11 percent of Hispanics.

About 82 percent of the population in Collegedale is white, close to 5 percent is black and 8 percent is Hispanic, according to the website

Others say there are people in the Hispanic community who have been stopped and asked about their legal status, but Chief Hickman said his officers can’t ask anyone about their status, unless they get arrested.

“If someone is arrested we’re required to ask for their nationality (in case) they want to call their consulate, we have to put on their fingerprint card what nationality they are,” he said. “It’s simple things we ask any citizen and noncitizen.”

Collegedale Mayor John Turner told Mrs. Monzon he has lived in Collegedale for almost 30 years and has never seen a police officer “being anything but courteous.”

“You need to file a police complaint if you truly believe it’s happening,” he said, “we will investigate it and if we made a mistake, we will correct it.”

At the end of the meeting Mrs. Monzon said she felt the commissioners and the police chief and lieutenant listened and are willing to make things right if something wrong is being done.

about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Salsa said...

LOL! Stopping someone for an expired auto tag isn't profiling, its enforcing the law. Mr Valtierra thinks he should be able to drive without a valid license as the TN law requires and then complains if he gets stopped? Arrogance.

August 3, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.
hotrod said...

Collegedale police are known for pulling anyone and everyone over for no reason. Giving tickets is the main source of revenue for the city. It's not profiling, they just don't have anything else to do. A genius Collegedale police officer hit my friend while he was stopped at a red light and totaled his car. Let's just all stay away from Collegedale and the Adventists.

August 3, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.
eeeeeek said...

There was a shuttle driver that was part of the Murray bragging to a buddy just last year, that his tags have been expired for 5 years and had yet to be stopped for it.

I guess being a blond white guy does have it's advantages.

August 3, 2010 at 5:12 p.m.
john3347 said...

How is it that stopping a dark skinned driver for driving a car with expired tags is profiling when stopping a light skinned driver for driving a car with expired tags is not profiling? And - heaven forbid the police officer ask a dark skinned driver who is driving a car with expired tags for their driver license or any other form of picture identification. Although they ask light skinned drivers who are driving a car with expired tags for their driver licenses and other forms of identification routinely without incident. How can this be called racial profiling? (The expired tags are all the same color anyway)

August 3, 2010 at 6:42 p.m.
citizen311 said...

Hotrod Your comments are made out of ignorance. If you simply check, the city's main source of revenue is not from tickets. Matter of fact, it is at the bottom. You need to stop speaking from rumors & what others say. What does your friend getting hit by an police officer have to do with someone getting stopped who undisputedly has no driver's license?

August 3, 2010 at 7:23 p.m.
agreenwood1990 said...

The CPD picks on Adventists just as much as it does anyone else. I have lived in Ooltewah/Collegedale for a little over four years now. I have been pulled over by CPD 3 or 4 times total, none of which resulted in a ticket; as the majority of stops were either unfounded or not ticket worthy. That said, the officers were extremely rude, making threats (the officer was going to his car and said "If your license is suspended, I will make sure there is a warrant out for your arrest), and making demeaning statements. A routine traffic stop is treated almost like a burglary-I got pulled over for a seat belt ticket and there were three of them behind me and one watching from the other side of the street! Let me tell you, its very difficult to have any faith in them when they gang up on citizens for average stops! All this said, you should know that I have no arrest or warrant record, and even my two moving violations are no longer technically on the books.

August 22, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.
please login to post a comment

Other National Articles

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.