Hamilton County grand jury declines to charge fired officers

Hamilton County grand jury declines to charge fired officers

December 6th, 2012 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

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

Document: No true bill

State of Tennessee vs. Sean C. Emmer

The Hamilton County grand jury recently declined to indict two former Chattanooga police officers who beat a man until he had severe injuries to his legs, including a compound fracture.

The grand jury had the option to charge former officer Sean Emmer on a class C felony charge of aggravated assault and former Officer Adam Cooley on a class A misdemeanor charge of assault after viewing evidence, according to a "no bill" issued last week.

Evidence in the case includes a video from the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue where federal inmate Adam Tatum was housed as part of an inmate program.

"It makes Rodney King look tame. It's bad," said Robin Flores, an attorney who is representing Tatum, who recently viewed the video.

Police responded to a call about a disorder in July where Tatum was reportedly kicking the door of a control room. He had a knife that was taken away from him early on during the scuffle. Officers used mace and a stun gun on Tatum. Neither seemed to affect him. Both officers continued to strike Tatum.

Flores is seeking a settlement from the city of more than $10 million, he said.

He referenced a 2008 case in which a Chattanooga police officer shoved a 71-year-old Walmart greeter and the grand jury chose not to indict the officer after seeing video footage of the incident. The department suspended the officer for 28 days at the time.

Now with this latest case, Flores said, "It tells me that the Hamilton County grand jury -- when it comes down to force issues -- they will not indict an officer. If it were anyone else, they would indict."