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Chattanooga police have suspended an investigation into a man's viral claim that he was assaulted last weekend by a group of teenagers in an alleged "gang initiation" due to inconsistencies in the man's story and a lack of cooperation from him.

"The investigation is suspended, not closed," Chattanooga Police Department spokesperson Elisa Myzal said Saturday morning. Stuart Doster's attorney told police "that he would be willing to cooperate with the investigation in the event that any suspect information was discovered."

(READ MORE: Chattanooga police investigating man's claim that he was assaulted by teenagers downtown)

Doster, a Chattanooga resident and warehouse company employee, wrote on Facebook that he was attacked by "5-6 teenagers" as he was walking toward his car on Cherry Street, near Buffalo Wild Wings and the Market Street Bridge.

In a post to his Facebook page on Sept. 12, Doster claimed he was punched, tackled and kicked in the ribs, throat and head. He said he was put into what he believed to be an older, red Toyota Corolla and had to fight his way out. Doster also claimed he witnessed another man who looked to be in his mid-40s being beaten across the street by another group of multiple people.

A second victim had not come forward as of Saturday morning.

The post, which has been shared more than 800 times, alleged Doster had been the victim of "some type of gang initiation directive," but police have said the investigation so far does not indicate any "gang initiation activity" was conducted, nor that a kidnapping was attempted, citing footage from a nearby city safety camera.

The footage, obtained by the Times Free Press, shows Doster, dressed in red, approaching a group of people standing outside Buffalo Wild Wings. Doster approaches one man in the group in particular, and a fight between the two begins. No one else on the tape is dressed in red, and there does not appear to be a red Toyota Corolla on the tape, nor does there appear to be a second victim.

Police determined Doster was the instigator of the fight, based on the footage, and said the timeline of events does not match up with what he said took place.

They also said Doster has declined to work with investigators multiple times since an officer first reached out to help him file a report for simple assault Monday evening. Officers said Doster had abrasions and sought medical attention after he filed the report but had no record of him receiving medical treatments before that filing was made.

(READ MORE: Coty Wamp announces run for Hamilton County district attorney post)

Doster took to Facebook on Tuesday to address the incident. He said he would be getting rid of his account because of the "extraordinary amounts of evil behavior/comments" he had received from those who did not believe his story about what occurred.

"Thank you to those who have taken my encounter seriously," he said in the post. "No reason to lie and I have nothing to prove to naysayers."

Weston Wamp, whose sister Coty Wamp last month announced her plan to run against Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston in the May 2022 election, was among those who took the post seriously.

In a series of tweets posted to his Twitter page Monday, Wamp called violent crime an "epidemic" in Chattanooga and said he believed "many civic and political leaders" would prefer to ignore stories about such violence because it doesn't fit the "'best city ever' narrative."

"Notice needs to be served to gangbangers by our mayors and law enforcement that if you come into the streets of downtown where our children play, there will be hell to pay," Wamp said. "This is no time to ignore the truth. Gang violence has instilled fear and stolen hope for too long."

(READ MORE: Afghan American man receives community support in efforts to relocate family to Chattanooga)

On Wednesday, interim police chief Erick Tucker urged the community to be careful not to share stories on social media intended to incite a reaction.

"In our current climate with social media, let's not poke holes in the fabric of our community by sharing stories or inflammatory remarks that are meant to tear others down or incite fear or anger," Tucker said.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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