Man beaten by police has charges dismissed (with video)

Man beaten by police has charges dismissed (with video)

March 12th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local Regional News

Adam Tatum leaves the courtoom of Judge Christine Sell on Monday morning. Tatum, 37, had three assault charges overturned Monday morning in Hamilton County General Sessions Court. Tatum's attorneys, Robin Flores and Mike Raulston, filed a petition for post conviction relief. The order was granted by Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman. Tatum pleaded guilty on one count of simple assault against a fellow inmate. He was the man who police beat on tape at the Salvation Army.

Photo by Jay Bailey/Times Free Press.

Document: Tatum order

Tatum order

Adam Tatum clutched a cane in his shackled hands as he shuffled into a Hamilton County General Sessions courtroom on Monday morning.

The cane is a reminder of the leg injuries he suffered when Chattanooga police officers savagely beat him June 14 when they responded to a disorder call at the Salvation Army halfway house where Tatum was an inmate.

Tatum, 37, appeared before Judge Christine Sell to have three of his assault convictions overturned. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of simple assault after he brandished a knife on a fellow inmate, Adrian McGhee. Tatum was sentenced to six months with credit for time served.

"I appreciate it," Tatum said in a soft voice as he turned and shook his attorney's hand.

Robin Flores, Tatum's attorney, filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was granted Monday morning by Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman.

Steelman returned the case to Sessions Court after Hamilton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston and Flores agreed it was unclear that Tatum knew what he was pleading to.

"The District Attorney's Office concedes the post-conviction petition should be granted because the petitioner's plea was unknowingly and involuntary. This concession is based upon apparent inadequate notice to the petitioner as to the identity of the victims he was pleading guilty to assaulting," the order states.

Tatum was arrested June 14 when former Chattanooga Police Officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley went to the Salvation Army after reports that Tatum was kicking a door of the office.

Salvation Army video shows Tatum 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.

Tatum still has 55 days left to serve on his federal sentence for a robbery charge. It's unclear whether he will receive credit for time served.

"It's possible he could go home tomorrow," Flores said.

Emmer and Cooley were fired, but they are asking an administrative law judge to order they get their jobs back. The hearing is set for April 4.

The city also faces a $50 million lawsuit filed by Flores on Tatum's behalf.