published Monday, March 11th, 2013

Man beaten by Chattanooga police pleads guilty to one simple assault charge

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.
Tatum order
Tatum order

A 37-year-old Chattanooga man pleaded guilty to a single count of simple assault stemming from a June 14 incident at the Salvation Army last June in which he brandished a knife at another man.

Adam Tate was in General Sessions Court this morning.

General Sessions Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell overturned two other convictions of assault on law enforcement officers against Tate, who suffered multiple broken bones during his arrest at the Salvation Army. An assault charge against a staff member was also overturned. The charges were thrown out because it was unclear Tatum knew what he was pleading to in July.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman granted post conviction relief for Tatum this morning and returned the charges to Sessions Court for Sell to decide. Tatum was arrested June 14 when former Chattanooga Police Officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley went to the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue.

The officers responded to a call of a disorder after there were reports that Tatum was kicking a door of the office.

Salvation Army video show Tatum, a federal halfway house inmate, being savagely beaten by Emmer and Cooley. Officers took a knife from Tatum early on during the scuffle. They initially did not know Tatum was armed. They continued to beat him with batons and their fists. He also was sprayed with mace and stunned a few times with a stun gun. Tatum suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg, including a compound fracture.

In July, Tatum was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days on two counts of assault on an officer and two counts of assault. He has been incarcerated at Silverdale Correctional Facility.

On the state charge, Tatum was sentenced to six months with credit for time served, which means he has completed his sentence.

Tatum still has 55 days to serve as part of his federal sentence for a robbery conviction. It's unclear if he will be given credit for his time at Silverdale.

Emmer and Cooley were fired, but they are asking an administrative law judge to order they get their jobs back.

Attorney Robin Flores, who filed the petition to overturn the charges, has also filed a $50 million lawsuit on Tatum’s behalf.

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