published Friday, June 28th, 2013

Pam's Points: Police reviews, chicken news and firing range blues

Police add insult to injury

The testimony from this week's hearing in a police firing case is mind-numbing.

The two Chattanooga police officers who are seeking to be reinstated struck one man at least 44 times with metal police batons, choked him, hit him with a stun gun and broke both of his legs on June 14, 2012.

The victim, Adam Tatum, with cocaine in his system, seemed to have incredible strength and endurance during the attack, according to testimony.

No, he didn't. During most of the seemingly never-ending police assault, Salvation Army Halfway House security video shows Tatum on the floor in a fetal position begging officers to stop hitting him.

Chief Bobby Dodd rightly fired Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley. But in testimony, retired Internal Affairs Capt. Susan Blaine said she did not anticipate the officers losing their jobs even though she told the police chief she believed they had used excessive force.

"I don't think their intent was to violate the policy or injure Tatum," she said.

What? If they didn't intend to injure Tatum, why didn't they just handcuff him?

There's a horrifyingly simple answer: They wouldn't stop beating him long enough to cuff him -- even when Tatum clearly had no more fight left in him.

If striking a man 44 times with metal police batons, choking him, and hitting him with a stun gun for more than 10 minutes while he is in a fetal position isn't against city and police policy, then it should be.

Dodd defended his decision to fire the officers: "This is one of the most egregious [cases] I've ever seen," he said.

Yes it is. And these officers should not get their jobs back.

Chattanooga must have faith in its police department. But there can't be that faith with behavior like what these officers displayed.

Dodd's decision should stand. The only thing wrong with it was that the chief took no disciplinary action against the other dozen or so officers who arrived on the scene but didn't intervene to stop the beating.

Bring on the chickens

How many city officials does it take to approve a few chicken coops in the city?

Apparently, too many, as the city has been clucking around for about eight weeks over the proposal to allow residents in single-family homes to have one chicken coop and up to eight chickens.

But, of course, this is the city that for years found ways to cite residents for letting grass grow too long in a natural-landscape garden.

Chattanooga is one of hundreds of cities in the country that has embraced farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets, but now the city seems slow to really understand what urban farming means.

Come on, City Council: If the chickens' clucking drowns out neighborhood dog barks, and the coops smell worse than the city's combined sewer overflow facilities, then residents can call 311.

Kudos to Tim Boyd

Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd seems to be getting a lot of grief about addressing the Chattanooga City Council this week over concerns of possible cost overruns for the city/county police firing range.

Boyd wanted the council to know that just because the city and county have agreed to half the cost, that doesn't mean an unlimited "half" if tallies exceed the projected $3 million.

Chattanooga Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem on Tuesday told Boyd he should have just made a phone call, and the next day, Hakeem suggested Boyd's action was prompted by politics or "a lack of medication." Commission Chairman Larry Henry apologized for Boyd's action.

Boyd says no apology is needed. And he's right. As he told the council: "I'm a tax-paying citizen. I represent 20,000 citizens of Chattanooga and 40,000 citizens of Hamilton County."

You go, Tim. And please don't follow suggestions to make phone calls next time to work things out.

Heaven forbid that our elected representatives talk to each other in a public forum where citizens can actually hear the dialogue.

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Dumbledore403 said...

On Commissioner Boyd: He is the only one that I consider rightfully a commissioner at this point. The others as far as I am concerned have broken their oaths for that position. On the Emmer- Cooley hearing: I been at that hearing...they should not get their jobs back.

June 28, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.
klifnotes said...

retired Internal Affairs Capt. Susan Blaine said she did not anticipate the officers losing their jobs even though she told the police chief she believed they had used excessive force.

The above statement is not at all surprising. You have to understand, I.A are cops themselves. Their allegiance is first and foremost to their fellow brothers in blue. Filing a complaint against an officer can place the citizen complainer in danger too. Although the complaint is suppose to be confidential and the cop isn't suppose to even know a citizen has complained, the complaint always somehow mysteriously finds it back to the very cop the citizen filed the complaint against. The cop knows who the citizen is that filed the complaint. Which can often lead to dangerous situations and consequences for the civilian citizen.

"I don't think their intent was to violate the policy or injure Tatum," she said.

Yet, they've done it several times. I think their intent wasn't to get caught on video they couldn't later say malfunction.

What? If they didn't intend to injure Tatum, why didn't they just handcuff him?

BECAUSE THEY CAN

At least that's what one cop once stated: BECAUSE WE CAN get by with anything. There's no accountability. No punishment.

The disturbing part in all this is even if they're not hired back at CPD department, they may very well be allowed to move on to some other agency either in Chattanooga or get hired by another agency in some other state. Those cops that were fired in that Eagle bar raid in Atlanta were rehired by Clayton County Ga police chief. That illegal and infamous raid cost the city of Atlanta 1 million in lawsuits. Some of those perverted cops involved in the Atlanta gay Eagle bar raid were also sued for illegal strip searches performed in public during routine traffic stops.

June 28, 2013 at 9:01 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Not only should they not get them back, they should not have had them in the first place. Obviously these two are drooling Neanderthals whose reactions to people are instinctive and violent rather than cool and logical. What do we tell Mr. Tatum's family when they ask why two gorillas like this not only weren't charged with aggravated assault, but are being given back the jobs they were rightfully fired from? Oh, don't worry guys they understand if they kill someone their jobs will be gone for good then? What total hogwash! Where is the justice in this so-called justice system being run by bribe-taking incompetents? Where is the safety of the public if you are being "protected" by hired mercenaries who will TASER you, beat you, kick you, pepper spray you, and even KILL if you even question their authority or do something else they don't happen to like? More and more every time I ask a friend if they would call the police if they were under attack by home invading gangbangers they are answering "Hell no, I bought me an AR15 and I'm practicing every week, I wouldn't call one of those armored walking weapons racks with no brains if my life depended on it! Even the ones with enough brains to know who the bad guys are can't shoot any better than Elmer Fudd!" I am honestly getting answers pretty similar to that. And that scares the doodleydoo out of me. I kid you not, when I asked my neighbor across the street who he would call for home invasion he actually said the cops would be the LAST people he'd call.

June 28, 2013 at 9:16 p.m.
lightkeeper said...

Most Chattanooga TN police have the nastiest attitudes than anywhere I have ever lived. I have had the displeasure of talking to some of these A holes for assistace and they some kind of way tried to make me out to be the bad guy for dialing 911. You can't tell me that a lot of these police are not racists. Chattanooga and Hamilton County has a long history of hiring these type of officers. This particular officer had the nerve to tell me,next time "DONT CALL US" in a sarcastic tone of voice, then tell you to shut up or they'll take you to jail which is a violation of my first amendment right to free speech. I was trying to prevent an altercation between myself and an irate neighbor who kept coming to my door. Some of these officers should be taught better human relation skills and a brush up on the constitution and the violation of one's rights. If you can't call taxpayer funded Chattanooga police, then who do you call. This is just one of some of the terrible things that has happened to myself and others from Chattanooga police.

June 30, 2013 at 11:50 a.m.
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