published Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

College Hill Courts woman facing eviction hearing

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HOW IT WORKS

Here's how a Chattanooga Housing Authority eviction hearing works.

The hearing will be conducted by the CHA's executive director or designee. The tenant in question will be allowed to present evidence and arguments in support of his or her complaint and to make arguments against evidence relied on by the CHA or project management and to confront and cross-examine witnesses.

Source: CHA Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy

Eviction looms over a College Hill Courts resident who accused police officers of being verbally abusive and using excessive force and who collected more than 100 signatures on a petition asking for a federal investigation of the housing authority and city police officers.

Joyce Hardwick is scheduled to have an eviction hearing at the Chattanooga Housing Authority on Thursday. On April 10 she was charged with disorderly conduct by police after an incident at College Hills. CHA rules stipulate that commission of a crime on or off public housing property by a tenant or relative can be grounds for eviction.

"I'm not guilty of this charge [disorderly conduct], but I'm going to get put out of my place for it," said Hardwick, 45, who has lived in College Hill Courts for two years. "We have no say-so over the police."

If she is evicted, her ouster will make the second eviction in less than two years of a public housing resident who had claimed police harassment.

Hardwick said Chattanooga police Officer Adam Cooley, who wrote the April 10 arrest report for her disorderly conduct charge, also filed a complaint against her with CHA on April 12 after she went to the police department and filed an excessive force complaint against several police officers.

Housing officials said they don't have a complaint from Cooley, only the arrest report.

Hardwick said police caused injury to her wrist during her arrest and has documents from Parkridge Medical Center stating that she has a wrist sprain.

Police say Hardwick was arrested after causing such a commotion over the arrest of her son and others, officers had to stop what they were doing to deal with her.

Chattanooga police internal affairs officials said they conducted an investigation into the incident and found her accusations were unfounded.

Hardwick also said that when she and Cooley were in General Sessions Court on June 28 for a hearing on her disorderly conduct charge, Cooley said he had no recording of the arrest when Judge Clarence Shattuck asked for it. Hardwick questions what proof there will be of her alleged disorderly conduct at the CHA hearing on Thursday.

Shattuck sent the criminal case to the Hamilton County grand jury.

CHA officials said the hearing to determine whether Hardwick will be evicted is not open to the public.

Another public housing resident, Deborah Henry, was ordered evicted from East Lake Courts on Dec. 30, 2010, after allegedly striking a CHA public safety investigator. Henry said she was targeted and punished by the housing authority for speaking out on behalf of residents who had electricity bills higher than their rent.

She also spoke against CHA police after the 2009 shooting death of 15-year-old Alonzo O'Kelley Jr. by a CHA police officer.

Beaneit Seagrove and Hector Martinez, a couple who started a petition calling for some CHA police officers to be fired, voluntarily moved out of East Lake Courts in December 2011, claiming they were being harassed by police.

Hardwick said several police offers have retaliated against her since she started the petition in June asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate city and CHA police treatment of residents at College Hill Courts. Police have called her names and circulated information that could cause her harm, Hardwick said.

On Tuesday she filed an internal affairs complaint against a police official, claiming name-calling and spreading of misinformation.

"They're trying to get me killed," said Hardwick.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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