published Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Federal charges won’t be filed against former Chattanooga police officers in Salvation Army beating case

Officer Adam Cooley, from left, Officer Sean Emmer Chattanooga Police Department
Officer Adam Cooley, from left, Officer Sean Emmer Chattanooga Police Department

Federal charges will not be filed against two former Chattanooga Police Department officers who were fired after an inmate was beaten, Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, said today.

“After a thorough investigation ... it has been determined there is no prosecutable offense,” he said.

The Department of Justice, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated the incident involving the police officers and Adam Tatum, Killian said.

Killian declined to release additional details about the investigation.

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd fired the two officers, Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer, after Tatum, a federal inmate at a halfway house, sustained serious injuries from a beating by officers.

Tatum, 37, was arrested on June 14 after workers at the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue called police when Tatum was kicking the door to an office.

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.

Emmer and Cooley are going before an administrative law judge to get their jobs back. The hearing is set for June 26.

Dodd, who declined to comment for this story, said during a previous interview: “[The officers’ action] was excessive. It was abusive. They should have been fired, and in my opinion, they should have been charged. ... That’s why I brought in the FBI.”

The city also faces a lawsuit filed by attorney Robin Flores on Tatum’s behalf.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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