Officers mistakenly barge into home of commissioner's granddaughter

Greg Beck

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and Chattanooga Police Department conducted an operation to locate an individual at a residence Wednesday on Tower Way Drive, only to discover the person they were looking for wasn't there.

Who they found instead was the granddaughter of Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck.

"We call it bum rush in our community. They bum rushed into the house," Beck told the Times Free Press on Thursday. "They talked pretty rough to my granddaughter."

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office confirmed the incident happened, but wouldn't go into great detail because the investigation is still active. A team from the sheriff's office fugitive division and city officers were looking for a suspect who listed the address as her residence. The sheriff's office confirmed the suspect used to live at the address.

"It is unfortunate that innocent people are often put in a position to have to go through an ordeal such as claimed by this family," a statement from the sheriff's office said. "But the personnel involved are faced with a variety of situations daily, and it is not an option, but a requirement that they use caution and have immediate control of the area when trying to locate and apprehend a suspect."

photo Greg Beck

Beck got a call from his granddaughter Wednesday, who said while she was making baskets to give out at church this weekend, deputies and police officers knocked on her door, then rushed past her into the house without showing a search warrant.

When authorities said who they were looking for, Beck's granddaughter said she didn't know who that person was. Authorities were persistent, Beck was told, and made his granddaughter retrieve her ID. After she couldn't find it, authorities allegedly insisted that the granddaughter was the suspect in question.

But after many facts didn't match up - Beck's granddaughter is 5-foot-2 and in her 30s and the suspect is 5-foot-11 and in her 20s - deputies and police officers left the residence.

Beck said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond have called him to apologize. However, nobody has apologized to his granddaughter or her husband.

"It should have been an interview rather than an interrogation," Beck said. "I don't think they thoroughly checked out the warrant. They should have pulled up the name of who owned the house. Just several things I think they overlooked."

The release said Hammond has requested an internal review to see if any "improprieties" occurred.

Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at ehoopfer@timesfreepress.com or @EvanHoopfer on Twitter or 423-757-6731.