Two Red Bank police officers think the result of their Thursday afternoon termination hearings is "predetermined," but City Manager Chris Dorsey won't reveal their destiny until Monday.
"Would Chris Dorsey want to wait to see if he has to return all his Christmas presents for his two kids?" Cpl. Rebecca Chauncey asked after her hearing Thursday. "That's what I'll have to do for my family. This is my last paycheck coming up if I get fired."
Chauncey and Officer Bradley Hanon are accused of letting a bail bondsman force his way into the wrong home as he looked for a fugitive on Nov. 16. Officer Eric Massengale received a written reprimand for his involvement in the same incident.
After the three-hour hearing, Dorsey wouldn't discuss the reason for delaying his announcement until Monday.
But defense attorney Robin Flores said an outside investigation by a former Chattanooga police investigator determined that Hanon's involvement was less than first thought.
"Hanon was standing at the back door along with Massengale, according to the [investigator's] report," Flores said. "These officers acted in good faith. Another bondsman at the scene said that during the hearing."
The hearing in the Red Bank City Hall courtroom was closed to the public and the media. City Commissioner Floy Pierce said she attempted to watch the hearings, "but the city manager said I could not."
"I understand our policies, but I have concern for this community, and that's why I wanted to be there," Pierce said.
As he walked into his hearing, Hanon said the hearings were "formalities" and termination proceedings were retaliation against him and Chauncey. Both filed separate $1.5 million lawsuits against Red Bank alleging misconduct by their superiors.
Dorsey has denied that allegation, but he said former interim chief Dan Knight's "final" decision before he left the position last Friday was to recommend immediate termination for Chauncey and Hanon.
Knight is named as a defendant in both lawsuits.