published Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Attorney requests new trial for Chattanooga man, alleges misconduct

A man who suffered multiple fractures during an arrest that led to the firing of two Chattanooga police officers is asking for a new hearing on the charges related to the arrest.

Adam Tatum claims that prosecutors did not show his former attorney, Mike Acuff, the full video of the incident that led to his arrest.

Because his previous lawyer didn't see the entire episode, Tatum pleaded guilty to charges of resisting arrest, assault and drug possession.

Tatum was arrested on June 14 when former Officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer went to the Salvation Army office on McCallie Avenue after reports that Tatum was kicking a door of the office and had a knife.

Robin Flores is representing Tatum on his post-conviction attempts and said he will file a federal civil lawsuit against the police department and the officers related to his client's alleged abuse.

In court documents, Flores alleges officers "bludgeoned, strangled and battered" his client, causing six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg.

He said the two police officers fired from the department, Cooley and Emmer, along with others present, did nothing to help Tatum once he was injured and in custody.

"Jay Smith tried to clean [Tatum's] blood from the floor where the beating happened," Flores wrote.

On Tuesday, when the request was filed in Criminal Court, Flores said that none of the evidence or crime scene were preserved, and Smith's cleaning of the blood amounted to tampering with evidence.

Flores also said that showing only portions of the video to Acuff was "prosecutorial misconduct" that should offer Tatum a chance for a judge to review his charges. In his filing, Flores said the video could have been withheld by police or a prosecutor.

Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston declined to comment on the specific case but said that the post-conviction request must first be reviewed by a judge, then a prosecutor can respond before the judge decides whether there will be a hearing.

Cooley and Emmer are appealing to get their jobs back. The incident involving Tatum is being investigated by the FBI, Flores said.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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