published Monday, June 21st, 2010

Chattanooga: Officer who arrested man rushing to hospital placed on leave


by Monica Mercer

A Chattanooga police officer who arrested a man last week for traffic violations as the man desperately was trying to get his wife to a hospital has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a police spokeswoman.

Officer James Daves will remain on leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation into his conduct, Lt. Kim Noorbergen said via e-mail.

Mr. Daves followed Eric Jesse Wright to Erlanger hospital last Wednesday night after he ran two red lights while trying to get his wife, Aline Bacelar Wright, to the emergency room. She was showing signs of having a stroke, she told the Times Free Press last Friday.

Mr. Daves told Mr. Wright at the emergency room that he would be arrested, according to the Wright family.

By Friday, Mr. Wright had been booked into the Hamilton County Jail and charged with seven crimes, including assault on police, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment, felony evading arrest, driving on an expired registration and two counts of traffic-signal violations.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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wiharu said...

This cop may have been a good guy, but he seems to have become affected with some sort of "God" syndrome.

How dare he stop a husband from carrying his wife into the ER?

This man should be forced into finding another career.

Officers should go through psychiatric evaluations every few years because, it seems that the officers who become jaded, paranoid, arrogant are so much more likely to make a stupid error in judgement.

Rotate them to crossing guard every 3 years or something. We don't need bullies with badges. We need trained, professional responders that are ever-aware that they are here to protect the community in which they serve. Period.

June 21, 2010 at 1:24 p.m.
wittyguy said...

June 21, 2010

"Here We Go Again?"

Wow, I'm stunned at what appears to be obvious that this couple should have been left alone real early on.

Are the City and its citizens headed toward losing a substantial lawsuit?

I would understand a heavy lawsuit toward the Chattanooga Police Department and City because they are forcing this young couple to defend themselves now and need to recoup looses financially and emotionally every minute these charges (including a Felony) aren’t settled.

Seems to me, at this point a quick financial settlement and sincere personal and public apology would save everyone lots of grief and resources for all Chattanooga taxpayers.

Please someone with real character step up and solve this - before it gets real expensive for everyone.

Is our Mayor involved yet?

I believe the Mayor would encourage the right outcome here to settle this quickly and encourage the life saving and frankly love this gentlemen showed his wife as an example to all our citizens.

He is a hero in my family's book!

P.S. We appreciate our police and pray for the officer involved and all our police in this and other matters before them.

Sincerely, David M. Chattanooga Homeowner

June 21, 2010 at 3:21 p.m.
dave said...

It seems something is terribly wrong @ CPD. You would think that after the incident where the 71 year old man was shoved down by a CPD officer they would of all had some sort of training on...public relations. It seems they have forgotten just WHO they work for. (a hint)--- THE TAXPAYING PUBLIC.

If this officer cannot sort out someone taking their family member to the emergency room....how can he sort out a emotionally charged incident say a domestic argument? Force is not always the answer nor is arrest and charges. It is time that someone in the PD started getting a handle on this stuff (explicative deleted). This guy doesn't need a vacation...he needs a new line of work and if his supervisor can't figure that out...he may need to seek employment somewhere also. REALLY!

June 21, 2010 at 4:51 p.m.

Are you guys freakin' crazy. What if this guy ran a red light and tboned and killed some young children. Is there life less important that his wife's? I know it's a hypothetical but thats what police officers are supposed to do.

When I'm driving around I don't want to have to worry about people running red lights...PERIOD! If I'm in a dire situation I will race to the hospital too...but I won't expect to get out of any laws I break.

The officer didn't stop the car...or shoot at him...he simply wrote him up the citations AFTER his wife made it to the hospital and was treated. This guy had expired registration anyways...so he's obviously not very responsible.

June 21, 2010 at 5:16 p.m.
Msoccer said...

Anyone who loved their wife would do the exact same thing. He wasn't driving recklessly or carelessly, he was simply trying to potentially save his wife's life. Obviously the cop didn't know this until he arrived at the hospital, but once he realized the seriousness he should have commended the guy - not locked him up! The hospital workers clearly told the clueless cop that his wife was in serious need of medical help, and still this cop has to press charges? Does aanyone wonder why we as a society have lost so much respect for our government, both locally and nationally? It's these kind of boneheaded actions time after time. The cop shouldn't be on PAID leave, he should be fired.

June 21, 2010 at 6:25 p.m.
BOOBOO99 said...

This Cop should be fired!!!! He suppose to protect and serve not interfere with an medical emergency of a woman dying....They should charge this officer for attempted murder of this woman..she could of easily died if her hubby stopped for this Thug James Daves..James Daves sounds like a self center thug with an ego...I bet his family is so proud of him for what he did to this family....James Daves is an idiot!!!!

June 21, 2010 at 10:39 p.m.
rolando said...

A few quotes from the comments above"

"How dare [Daves] stop a husband from carrying his wife into the ER?"

"I'm stunned at what appears to be obvious that this couple should have been left alone real early on."

"The hospital workers clearly told the clueless cop that his wife was in serious need of medical help, and still this cop has to press charges?"

Over and over folks make up their minds something happened when it didn't. Nowhere in the article does it say anything about stopping someone from taking his wife into an ER or hospital workers talking of medical help.

Evidently it is OK for people to run red lights, drive with expired registration, evading arrest, etc and do it with impunity. Daves did his job...it is up to the courts to resolve the issue.

So, thanks to these hysterical objections, the next time someone running a red light is ignored by the cops you know who to thank. The cops don't need the public hassle. After all, the driver may be taking his/her spouse to an ER...or their kid to soccer practice...or their cat to the vet.

June 21, 2010 at 11:03 p.m.
Newsman said...

Rolando, In the original article it states that the man tried to turn himself in, but they wouldn't take him. Then they came to his wife's room and arrested him, dragging him away from her bedside.

Also, in the original article it clearly states that the officer initially refused to allow the husband to take his wife inside the E.R. instead deliberately blocking the doors to the E.R.

I'm not sure where this officer got his training, but when you have someone rushing into the E.R. you do NOT block the way. Furthermore, the officer needs to use a bit of common sense -- when someone has their headlights flashing and their hazard lights going and is honking their horn, that's typically the signal for an emergency.

I'm not saying people should run red lights and otherwise ignore traffic laws, but I also don't think people should be prosecuted for violating them in an emergency. Granted the man shouldn't have been driving on an expired registration. Go ahead and cite him for that, but the rest... drop 'em.

One more thing, Rolando. As I mentioned, the original story on this situation stated that the husband was driving WITH HIS 4-WAY FLASHERS GOING AND HONKING HIS HORN WHILE FLASHING HIS HEADLIGHTS. That is not how someone takes their kid to soccer practice or their cat to the vet. If the officer had used a bit of common sense, he would not have done anything other than ticket the husband for his expired registration when he pulled up to the doors of the emergency room.

June 22, 2010 at 6:08 a.m.
rolando said...

Newsman -- Yes, the original article did say that...except you left out the part about Mr Wright's arrest occurring the second day, not the first as you implied. I am unfamiliar with CPD internal procedures concerning arrest warrants but the reason give for the PD's 2-day delay sounds reasonable. If the jail has no record of an arrest warrant, I can just imagine the uproar had it accepted Mr. Wright's word and jailed him!

And you are a bit dramatic in you description of the arrest...the police did not enter the wife's room to "drag him away". Hospital security met him outside the room, explained the matter, handcuffed him as a matter of routine, and escorted him downstairs to the waiting police where the warrant was served. Not quite as dramatic an account but more truthful, isn't it?

I just re-read the original article and could find no reference whatsoever to "the officer initially refus[ing] to allow the husband to take his wife inside the E.R. instead deliberately blocking the doors to the E.R."

Perhaps you would be kind enough to direct me to the paragraph that states that? Or were you just using "poetic license" when you said that? So how did you find out the Officer "blocked his way into the ER"?

I will agree that flashers/horn is a rather universal signal of a personal emergency, but different people see different "emergencies". I was a bit facetious with the cat thing, but there it is...people do strange things, especially when Susie/Johnnie is late for practice. The Officer must decide the issue...and he did.

Mr Wright's apparent actions at the scene are understandable, especially since I have been in that situation. You must realize the Officer did NOT have Mr Wright removed from the ER, which was within his discretionary limits. Instead, the PD allowed him to remain with his wife and even gave him two days to be with her during her recuperation prior to his arrest.

That's quite a bit of compassionate leeway for a person charged with felonious fleeing, etc.

What say we wait for the internal investigation and the Sessions Court decision, hm-m-m? I daresay there will be more info coming with the attention this case has generated.

June 22, 2010 at 6:47 a.m.
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