Red Bank faces its third high-profile lawsuit in less than six months with one of its own police officers bringing charges that may shed light on the controversy surrounding the city's law enforcement division.
Three days after he chose to take a 60-day leave for exhaustion, Officer Bradley Hanon named Mayor Joe Glasscock, City Manager Chris Dorsey, former police Chief Larry Sneed, interim Chief Dan Knight and the city of Red Bank in a $1.5 million lawsuit, claiming that officials ignored his complaints against alleged improper police work by other officers. All four men subjected Hanon to "defamation, humiliation and mental anguish," the lawsuit says.
All officials declined to comment on the lawsuit except Sneed's attorney, Lee Davis, and Glasscock, who both called the lawsuit "frivolous."
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, hits Red Bank three weeks after ex-chief Sneed filed his own $1.5 million lawsuit against the city and various officials, claiming retaliatory discharge and political conspiracy in his July 2 firing.
Including a $10 million aggregate sum sought by plaintiffs in an anti-traffic camera lawsuit filed in April, Red Bank now faces three major lawsuits asking for a combined $13 million in damages. Red Bank's coffers hold $5.1 million, according to the latest budget documents.
Some statements in Hanon's lawsuit offer possible details about why Sneed was dismissed, a topic that hasn't been touched by Red Bank officials.
It cites a June incident in which a Red Bank police lieutenant crashed a city police car which, according to the lawsuit, meant two things under department policy: An outside police agency should have investigated the crash and the officer should have taken a blood test.
Neither of those occurred, the lawsuit alleges. According to Hanon's complaint, Red Bank officers handled the accident and no one tested the police lieutenant involved in the crash. Hanon brought the matter to Commissioners Greg Jones and Floy Pierce - two officials named in Sneed's lawsuit.
But according to Red Bank's police policy handbook, if the accident happens inside Red Bank city limits and causes only minor damage to the vehicles, no alcohol test is mandated and the investigation can be handled by the city.
Knight said there were only "minor scratches" to the vehicles involved in the police lieutenant's wreck.
According to the lawsuit, when Sneed got wind of Hanon's verbal complaints, the chief attempted to change the officer's shift, a move that was overruled by Dorsey because it constituted "retaliation" against Hanon.
Hanon alleges that Sneed changed the officer's immediate boss for "better supervision," another move blocked by the city manager. Dorsey fired Sneed soon after the chief attempted to deal with Hanon.
The lawsuit also alleges Hanon exposed a DUI arrest conducted by a Red Bank police officer in Soddy-Daisy - miles outside Red Bank's jurisdiction - and mentions an altercation with Glasscock in which Hanon alleges the mayor "became angered, yelled at plaintiff, grabbed plaintiff's arm and poked plaintiff in the chest."
Hanon's complaint places Sneed's attorney Davis and Red Bank City Attorney Arnold Stulce in the position of playing on the same legal team as both battle each other in Sneed's retaliatory discharge lawsuit.