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This story was updated Feb. 11 at 11:55 p.m.

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Robin Flores

A $1.75 million lawsuit filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court accuses six law enforcement officers of excessive force against a 61-year-old woman in custody.

Nancy Mason cooperated with one police officer and five sheriff's deputies when she was booked into the Hamilton County Jail on March 21, 2015, the lawsuit states. They patted down the frail woman, found her unarmed, and began to take her possessions for safekeeping. When they asked for her earrings, though, Mason refused, and told Sgt. Rodney Terrell she would report him.

According to the lawsuit filed Thursday morning, Terrell said, "Step over there and you can report all you want."

Then he unholstered his Taser and, without warning, shot Mason, who crumpled to the floor and fractured her right wrist, the lawsuit states.

As she writhed on the ground, Terrell continued to train his Taser on the 61-year-old woman, the lawsuit says.

"Now will you be able to get up and place your earrings on this?" he asked.

"Yes," Mason replied.

"You can?" Terrell asked. "So get up and place your earrings and all your jewelry on this counter."

"You broke my arm," Mason replied, according to the lawsuit.

"I didn't break your arm," Terrell said, "you broke it."

Terrell spent less than 25 seconds talking to Mason before he resorted to the Taser, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also says the county has taken no action against Sgt. Rodney Terrell, as well as deputies Chauncey Morrison, Charles Lowrey III, Brendan Beadle and Joshua Ross for condoning the excessive force.

Matt Lea, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, said the five deputies are still on duty and assigned to the Corrections Division. He declined to comment further on a pending legal matter.

Kyle Miller, spokesman for the Chattanooga Police Department, said there was no record of complaint against Greg Tate, the police officer who arrested Mason on charges of theft of property over $500. Mason ultimately pleaded guilty and was ordered to serve six months' house arrest, court records show.

"There is no record of any complaint involving said incident made to our Internal Affairs office," Miller said in a statement. "To be clear, Officer Tate did not utilize an electronic weapon on Ms. Mason."

Miller added there was no reason to believe Tate's arrest violated police policy, and therefore no reason to relieve him from duty. Tate also has never been subjected to an internal affairs investigation, he said.

The lawsuit says an internal investigation conducted after the incident found that Terrell used excessive force.

"Policy needs review & better clarification made," the report says, according to the lawsuit. "It appears the employees involved had no malicious intent, but training & policies need to be addressed with each employee involved."

Still, that report never addressed how the four other deputies failed to step in and protect Mason, the lawsuit says.

Mason's attorney, Robin Flores, declined to comment Thursday, saying the lawsuit speaks for itself.

The suit says the city and county failed to properly train its officers, and lists several examples of law enforcement abuse such as Adam Tatum, who received $125,000 in 2013 after he suffered two broken legs in a high-profile police beating.

Lacie Stone, a spokeswoman for Mayor Andy Berke, declined to comment Thursday. Hamilton County spokesman Mike Dunne directed a request for comment to attorney Rheubin Taylor, who was unavailable.

The suit also lists 12 counts, including excessive force, right to petition government, common law assault, common law battery, civil conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

It calls for $1.75 million in compensatory and punitive damages and a jury trial.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347 with story ideas or tips. Follow @zackpeterson918.

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