Citizens group urges reporting of police brutality (with video)

Citizens group urges reporting of police brutality (with video)

March 5th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Ash-lee Henderson,left, speaks to media on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Justice organization during a news 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 /Times Free Press.


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

In response to a video of Chattanooga police officers beating a man, a citizens group organized to stop police brutality is urging residents to use cellphones to document actions of officers and to get the names of officers they encounter.

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

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said in previous interviews that the incident was isolated and was dealt with accordingly. The officers were fired and outside agencies, including the FBI, were contacted to investigate former officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer.

"We do not condone this activity," Dodd said. "Nor will it be tolerated."

The citizens 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.

"Unfortunately, this is the norm in working-class black neighborhoods in the city," said Ash-Lee Henderson, an organizer with the group.

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

"We're very, very upset that this happened to Adam Tatum," she said.

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 inside.

Officers arrived and took a knife from Tatum early on during a scuffle. The officers initially did not know Tatum was armed. They continued to beat him with batons and 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.

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