published Monday, March 4th, 2013

Group to host meeting on police brutality in Chattanooga

Ash-lee Henderson, left, speaks to media on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Justice organization during a press conference Monday morning at Miller Park. The group announced that they will organize against police brutality in response to a video showing police beating an inmate last week.
Ash-lee Henderson, left, speaks to media on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Justice organization during a press conference Monday morning at Miller Park. The group announced that they will organize against police brutality in response to a video showing police beating an inmate last week.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • Surveillance video shows savage beating by Chattanooga police
    Surveillance video from the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue shows two Chattanooga police officers using excessive force on an inmate. Adam Tatum, 37, suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg, including a compound fracture, when police took him into custody after a disorder.
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Is police brutality a problem in Chattanooga?

A citizens group organized to stop police brutality is urging residents to use cell phones to document actions of officers and to get the names of officers they encounter.

The group, Concerned Citizens for Justice, held a news conference this morning to denounce a video released last week that showed a federal inmate being beaten by Chattanooga police officers. The inmate suffered eight breaks to his legs — including a compound fracture.

The group, which contends that this is not an isolated case of police brutality at the department, will hold a meeting Saturday to reach out to residents.

“Even just one person is worth having a press conference, but unfortunately, this is the norm in working-class black neighborhoods in the city,” said Ash-Lee Henderson, an organizer with the group.

“We’re very, very upset that this happened to Adam Tatum,” she said.

Henderson said historically many cases of police brutality have not been heard due to a lack of proof against officers.

On June 14, federal inmate Adam Tatum was at a halfway house at the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue when officers were called. Tatum, who police said was high on crack cocaine at the time, was kicking a door to a control room where workers were locked inside.

Officers arrived on the scene and took a knife away from Tatum early on during a scuffle. The officers initially did not know Tatum was armed. They continued to beat him with batons and using their fists. He was also maced and had a stun gun used on him a few times.

The incident came to light after a defense attorney contacted the department.

The officers, Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer, have since been fired and federal authorities are reviewing the case.

A new website, chattanooogacopwatch.com, has been set up to collect people’s stories, Henderson said.

Saturday’s meeting is set for 3 p.m. at Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church at 1403 Tunnel Blvd.

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