Video shows aftermath of violent robbery preceding social media video of Chattanooga police arrest

Brandon Smith

Chattanooga police have released a video showing the aftermath of a robbery at a Hamilton Place area restaurant after another video surfaced over the weekend showing an officer chasing, tackling and arresting a suspect in front of a shopping center on Gunbarrel Road.

In the first video, initially posted to TikTok and then shared on Facebook on Saturday morning by social justice advocate Marie Mott, the officer is seen chasing and tackling a suspect before punching him one time while yelling "put your f------ hands behind your back now" repeatedly.

Another officer arrives and crouches down by the suspect and officer before a police vehicle blocks the view as the videographer turns away.

In her Facebook post, Mott wrote, "This young man is 16 years old and being chased down by a Chattanooga Police officer before being punched while detained."

Note: The video below includes explicit language that may be offensive to some viewers.

Mott, a candidate for city council in next month's election, did not immediately return a request for comment.

"We are currently waiting to hear back from one of the assistant police chiefs to get bodycam footage from the incident," she wrote on social media. "Yes, this young man is running, but once detained he should not be getting assaulted by an officer. Enough is enough! Also, police cannot beat you just because you are 'alleged' to have committed a crime."

In a statement, Chattanooga police Chief David Roddy said, "There is more to this situation than a 20-second video clip posted to social media."

"Officers responded that night to an ongoing, violent and tense situation with continually evolving circumstances. Those circumstances ranged from providing medical attention to a seriously injured community member, an active search for violent suspects to ultimately placing all suspects in custody," he said, adding that the department is investigating the matter and will provide more details when able.

According to Hamilton County court records, police were seeking suspects after a robbery at nearby restaurant Moe's Southwest Grill shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday.

Restaurant employees called police after three individuals, two of whom were 16-year-old boys accompanied by Brandon Smith, 22, walked into the restaurant and began flipping and throwing tables, according to the affidavit of criminal complaint.

The manager stepped between his employees and the three suspects in an effort to protect his workers, he told police, but he was eventually cornered by the suspects.

"The males began asking him what he was going to do about it and talking smack," court records state.

When the manager pulled out his phone to call 911, the suspects "snatched his phone from him and began beating him up," court records state.

The manager told police "he was being hit and kicked and was on the floor holding two of the suspects' legs" in an effort to keep them from kicking him any harder, according to court records.

He had several lacerations to his head and face, police noted. And according to a news release by the department, he also sustained broken bones and bruised ribs.

One of the employees told police that the suspects tried to hit her with a table but missed.

Another employee told police she called 911 but couldn't talk to the dispatcher because she was afraid that, if the suspects saw her phone, they'd take it away and assault her, too.

A third witness told police that one of the suspects told her, "better be glad you're Black," according to the affidavit. She repeated that statement twice but wasn't sure which suspect said that to her.

Police were able to quickly gain detailed descriptions on the three assailants along with the vehicle in which they fled, a news release states. And after police detained the suspects, they were able to return the manager's cellphone.

"When police attempted to detain the suspects, all three fled on foot," the news release states. "Officers detained the 22-year-old male suspect as he attempted to flee in a vehicle. They located one 16-year-old male hiding under another vehicle. Another 16-year-old was restrained after he escaped the grasp of one officer then fled on foot across shopping center parking lots. It took two officers to eventually take him into custody due to the suspect's continued attempts to physically resist arrest as is evident in a brief video clip posted to social media."

Smith, the only adult suspect, was taken to a local hospital because, according to court records, he admitted to smoking "Flakka," a synthetic stimulant similar to "bath salts." According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the drug may cause "paranoia and hallucinations that may lead to violent aggression and self-injury."

The suspects are all charged with robbery, aggravated assault, interference with 911 calls, evading arrest, resisting arrest and inciting a riot.

The Chattanooga Police Department has initiated an administrative review of the incident. No officers are on administrative leave at this time.

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