DA says charges may be filed against Marion County teens in bicyclist harassment case

DA says charges may be filed against Marion County teens in bicyclist harassment case

February 4th, 2014 by David Cobb in Local Regional News

The Marion County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Department was advised Monday by 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor that delinquency charges could be filed against two of the teenagers involved in the alleged harassment of bicyclist Anders Swanson.

However, Taylor said that a Juvenile Court has yet to adjudicate the possibility of charges against Swanson.

"I've advised the sheriff of what I thought could be done, and I gave him that info and I assume they will proceed," Taylor said.

He could not comment on the likelihood that Swanson would be charged in the incident and could not explain the exact nature of the delinquency charges that he advised since the subjects are minors.

For Swanson, 30, the news that charges are likely to come against those who admitted to spraying him in the face with pepper spray following a Jan. 11 incident on Raccoon Mountain, is a relief.

"I trust Taylor's expertise and experience and I'd say all the evidence that's been presented so far is pretty clear," Swanson said. "So if there's any hint or possibility of charges against me, I'd be very very surprised given what I've heard, and given the truth in all of this."

The case was initially handled by the Chattanooga Police Department before Marion County took over the investigation.

A follow-up report filed by Chattanooga Police Officer Amanda Morgan on Jan. 12, the day after the incident, contained an admission from two unnamed teenage boys to spraying Swanson in the face with pepper spray. They also admitted to blowing an air horn at Swanson when driving past him earlier in the day.

Because authorities confirmed that the incident occurred in Marion County, the case changed hands, and the story did as well.

The teenagers told the Marion County Sheriff's Office that Swanson had been the attacker.

Marion County conducted an investigation, and Detective Gene Hargis gave his findings to Taylor on Jan. 27.

Taylor had access to the incident reports filed by each department as he reviewed the case.

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.