Chattanooga: Police video shows graphic beating (with video)

Chattanooga: Police video shows graphic beating (with video)

February 27th, 2013 by Beth Burger in Local - Breaking News

Surveillance video from the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue shows two Chattanooga police officers using excessive force on an inmate. Adam Tatum, 37, suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg, including a compound fracture, when police took him into custody after a disorder.

Photo by Patrick Smith /Times Free Press.

Surveillance video released Wednesday afternoon shows two former Chattanooga police officers savagely beating a federal inmate last summer at the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue.

Police officers were called June 14 about a disorder involving 37-year-old Adam Tatum, who reportedly was kicking a door at the Salvation Army building. He had knife when confronting another inmate, which officers did not realize at the time that they began putting him in a choke hold.

Police said at the time Tatum kept fighting even after they took away the knife. They said they used Mace and a stun gun on Tatum, but neither seemed to affect him. They continued to strike Tatum until he stopped fighting, they said in earlier newspaper stories.

The video showss Tatum on the floor much of the time, pleading with officers to stop striking him.

Tatum suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg, including a compound fracture.

"The only thing I can tell you is that the video speaks for itself," said Chattanooga attorney Robin Flores.

Flores has filed a $50 million lawsuit in Hamilton County Circuit Court on Tatum's behalf.

Flores released the video Wednesday night after obtaining the footage through discovery after he filed a motion for post-conviction relief. Tatum was convicted of several assault charges stemming from the disorder.

The lawsuit names two former Chattanooga police officers, three current police officers, 11 unidentified police officers, the city and Erlanger Health Systems.

As a result of the incident, Officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer were fired. James Smith, one of the first responding officers, was not disciplined.

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said Wednesday night he fired the officers and pushed for criminal prosecution.

"I met with the district attorney to seek prosecution. The determination was made to present it to the grand jury. I also contacted the FBI to look into it for possible civil rights investigation," Dodd said.

The grand jury declined to indict the officers. As of Wednesday night, no federal charges were filed against the officers.

Tatum remains incarcerated at Silverdale Correctional Facility.

Read more in tomorrow's Times Free Press.