Former Chattanooga police officer denies knowledge of alleged attempts to protect him from rape investigation

Desmond Logan / Bradley County Sheriff Department
photo Desmond Logan / Bradley County Sheriff Department

Former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan claimed he was unaware of any alleged efforts by two former high-ranking police officers to suppress an accusation that Logan raped a woman in 2015, according to deposition excerpts filed in federal court Wednesday.

The excerpts were attached to the city's motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit against the city filed in 2019 by one of Logan's victims. The city is asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the city can't be held liable because there was no policy or custom encouraging or condoning officer misconduct and no policymakers were aware of the criminal acts.

Logan was sentenced earlier this year to 20 years in federal prison for multiple rapes while on duty.

Early in the investigation, Assistant Chattanooga police Chief Edwin McPherson and Capt. Pedro Bacon, both retired, were allegedly investigated for their potential roles in deleting a report by one of Logan's earliest known victims, a woman identified only as T.L., the Times Free Press previously reported.

Initial emails obtained by the Times Free Press revealed the two emailed briefly in August 2016 about the complaint asking only if a complaint number had been filed in addition to the internal affairs complaint. Logan was not identified in the emails.

In its response to the lawsuit earlier this year, the city claimed that the woman's complaint only "implicated an officer named as 'Unknown', [sic] 'Logan' or 'Tate.'" And she "would not meet with investigators or otherwise cooperate."

The woman also told the Times Free Press in July 2018 that Logan told her his name was "Officer Tate," though his nametag said "Logan." And disciplinary records released to the Times Free Press after Logan's sentencing showed that internal investigators determined that Logan signed into the department's dashcam system under a different user.

Federal prosecutors later noted that T.L. immediately reported the sexual assault to the Chattanooga Police Department and underwent a rape exam. But that evidence remained untested by the department until years later, when the 2018 case was reported and the FBI launched its investigation.

In his deposition for the lawsuit - filed by Logan's last known victim, identified only as K.B. - Logan was asked, "Are you aware of any efforts by either Captain Bacon or Chief McPherson to try to hide those interactions and protect you from any employment or criminal investigations?"

"No. Not at all," he responded.

Logan said he knew what he was doing - assaulting women - was against department policy and claimed he therefore never told anyone within the department about his actions.

Bacon, who also was deposed, invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and answered no questions included in the excerpts filed by both the city and the plaintiff.

McPherson, however, answered questions. He denied ever being made aware of Logan's criminal acts and denied that then-Chattanooga police chief of staff David Roddy and then-Chief Fred Fletcher were made aware about any criminal conduct by Logan.

In an affidavit attached to the motion, Roddy, now the police chief, admitted to knowing about T.L.'s complaint, but noted that the complaint didn't identify a suspect officer.

"I endorsed an investigation of her allegations while I was Chief of Staff under Chief Fletcher," Roddy wrote. "My understanding is that the investigation was inconclusive because Ms. [T.L.] did not cooperate in the investigation."

Roddy and other department leaders have previously said they were unaware of any allegations against Logan prior to K.B.'s June 2018 report that sparked the investigations.

As for the city's motion to dismiss the case, the plaintiff has some time to respond. It'll be up to the judge to decide whether the case should move forward or be dismissed.

A judge already denied a similar motion earlier this year, stating that the court doesn't have to determine whether the plaintiff will likely win or lose her case but only whether the facts show "more than the mere possibility of misconduct." And, at that stage, K.B.'s allegations did lead to a "reasonable inference" that the city knew or should have known of Logan's repeated misconduct.

As of now, the case is set for trial in the spring of 2021.

Contact Rosana Hughes at 423-757-6327, or follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.