Local Update: Lawsuit claiming excessive force, name calling by East Ridge police dropped

Staff photo / An East Ridge police cruiser is seen parked at a gas station in 2016.

Then: East Ridge police officers were accused of using excessive force and calling a Catoosa County man names during a 2022 arrest, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in December.

Johnathan Ellish alleged officers tore his nose and called him names including "silly goose" while attempting to arrest him early on the morning of Oct. 3, 2022, according to the complaint filed Dec. 30.

(READ MORE: East Ridge Police Department launching drone program)

Ellish had been leaving Parkridge Hospital, where he was admitted for shortness of breath and chest pain, the suit stated. While at the hospital, he reportedly expressed suicidal thoughts but refused treatment and left the hospital on foot.

Local Update

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The complaint alleged East Ridge officers James T. Davis and Samuel Roistacher and then-officer Anna Simmons stopped Ellish and tried to prevent him from leaving. Simmons and Davis then slammed him into a bed of rocks and rolled him onto his face, the suit alleged.

Ellish alleged he had to get sutures to reattach his left nostril after the incident.

In addition to the three officers, Ellish also sued the city of East Ridge, alleging its training and policies led to the officers' behavior. In his civil rights complaint, Ellish asked the court to award him $750,000 in combined damages and for a jury trial.

The city denied anything was done wrong and said it is not liable for Ellish's injuries in an answer filed in January.

Now: The case was dismissed earlier this month, at Ellish's request, his attorney said.

After the lawsuit was filed, evidence discovered in the case "made the ability to proceed incredibly difficult," Robin Flores, Ellish's attorney, said by phone.

(READ MORE: Lawsuits against East Ridge cops allege excessive force and false charges)

The suit was dismissed with prejudice, which means Ellish can't file the same claims again.

"Obviously we're pleased with the lawsuit being dismissed in its entirety," East Ridge Police Chief Clint Uselton, an assistant chief at the time of the incident, said by phone. "Our position from the outset was: Our officers acted righteously."

Uselton declined to comment on specifics of the lawsuit.

Davis and Roistacher still work at the East Ridge Police Department, Uselton said, and Simmons left for a job with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

"I still think the (officers' body camera) video was not good, the force was not reasonable," Flores said. "But in the end, it's the client's call."

Contact Ellen Gerst at egerst@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6319.