published Saturday, September 28th, 2013

If police beating was OK, then training is not

A judge who this week ruled that two fired Chattanooga police officers be reinstated surely didn't see the same excruciating video that the public saw earlier this year. The video shows the officers slamming down dozens of baton blows on a prone federal offender under Salvation Army Halfway House custody. Then it shows an officer kicking the sitting and handcuffed prisoner with broken legs unto his back.

But apparently, the judge did see that video. Administrative Law Judge Kim Summers, in her 30-page order, noted that halfway house inmate Adam Tatum was struck by police baton about 40 times and with a taser multiple times, leaving him with two broken legs, including a compound fracture with bone protruding through the skin.

Although Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd called the actions of officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley "excessive force" and fired them, the judge decided that Tatum brought it on himself.

"Certainly, the use of force and the injuries sustained by Mr. Tatum were not ideal but neither were they dictated by the conduct of officers Emmer and Cooley. As such, it would not be an acceptable ending to this situation to ruin the lives and careers of two otherwise unblemished and promising police officers who came across the path of Mr. Tatum only because he chose to violate his parole by taking cocaine, engaging in violent behavior, and disregarding lawful directives from law enforcement. It was Mr. Tatum, not officers Emmer and Cooley, who set in motion this very regrettable chain of events as well as the unfortunate, but avoidable, conclusion."

Dodd said he was "stunned" by the decision and Mayor Andy Berke said he was "extremely disappointed."

Both have a right to be shocked. No one should view the video of this incident and believe police acted appropriately. The scene was caught on Salvation Army security cameras after Halfway House officials called police for help when an agitated Tatum was kicking a halfway house door and later allegedly pulled a knife on someone there. Yes, Tatum did start the incident. But that doesn't make it OK for officers to beat and batter him. There is conflicting testimony even from the officers about when they became aware that Tatum had a knife.

The police said they told Tatum to roll over on his stomach to be handcuffed. He continued to lay on his back and begged them to stop hitting him. With two broken legs and blows continuing to fall on his head and arms, how easy can it be to roll over? Tatum has sued the city for $50 million.

The judge, in her ruling, talks much about officers falling into "tunnel vision" in the heat of fight and stress, and she states the officers did what their training called for them to do.

"Neither Officer Emmer nor Officer Cooley arrived at the Salvation Army facility with the intent to beat and injure Mr. Tatum but were only using their training and experience to resolve a very difficult and unexpected situation as quickly as possible. ... There were no allegations against the officers of any deliberate misconduct, only that the officers did not use good judgment and that their actions, under very trying circumstances, were not appropriate. However, even with the benefit of hindsight, no one has been able to offer a better approach for resolving the situation," Summers wrote.

If she's right, we should all be very afraid of the men in blue who we expect to protect us and have the good judgment to know how.

If she's right, Chattanooga police training needs a top-to-bottom review and revamp. Beginning immediately.

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conservative said...

“If she's right, we should all be very afraid of the men in blue who we expect to protect us and have the good judgment to know how.”

No, you have no reason to fear an officer but you do have to obey an officer. The man who was evidently high on cocaine was feeling no pain and was violent. There is a reason police are given a baton and it is not for decoration. They are trained to use the baton to beat you into submission when you are violent and will not obey the officer.

There is a real violent criminal world out there. I wish feel good Liberals would learn about it.

September 28, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Beating someone down in the floor serves no purpose at all. Once restrained there is no reason to hit. This was a savage beating.

September 28, 2013 at 10:11 a.m.
conservative said...

aae1049:

He was not restrained, he refused to be restrained, they wrestled with on the floor and were unable to restrain him and handcuff him.

Only then did they begin using the baton on him.

They backed away and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. He still refused.

What would you have done if you were the one being arrested?

September 28, 2013 at 10:43 a.m.
aae1049 said...

A tazer would seem more human than a continual baton beating. I thought the goal was to get the handcuffs and restrain. Hey if you are breaking bones to get handcuffs on perhaps an evaluation of technique is warranted. Matters not, the public will not tolerate their methods, in case you have not noticed.

September 28, 2013 at 11:21 a.m.
conservative said...

They did use a tazer.

These hoodlums on cocaine have super human strength and often don't feel pain like a normal person.

Again, they got on the floor and wrestled with the man trying to get his hands behind him to no avail.

I wonder why they went that far. The hoodlum could have bitten off a finger, a lip, nose, ear or done serious damage to the genital area. Why should a policeman go through life with a deformity because a hoodlum refused to be arrested?

There is a real world out there.

September 28, 2013 at 11:53 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

I've got news for you conservative, and you are not going like it, and neither are the rest of the brainwashed law-and-order clowns I run into every damn day. I have read the entire Tennessee code annotated criminal code section and NOWHERE in it does it say that cops have the right to order you around like they own you or treat you like live stock. I have also read the entire Chattanooga city criminal code and guess what BOZO there's NO ordinance in IT either that permits a cop to treat you like a slave. These two gorillas had better walk on eggs if they're put back on the street which I cannot imagine Bobby Dodd doing because he knows the public won't stand for it. I carry a 650,000 volt stun gun and a video camera everywhere I go and their sole purpose is to defend myself against out of control insane cops. I NEVER in my life had to defend myself against a "Criminal" it's always been the damned cops that have hurt me on more than one occasion. I'm going to take the gun safety course and get my TN carry permit and THEN I'll be carrying one of few handguns sold in this country that has the capability to penetrate Kevlar. It's an FNH 5.7mm and it fires a RIFLE round that comes out that muzzle at 1750fps. and I use FMJ spire pointed ammo. I won't be another victim of those two gorillas or ANY other cop for that matter. And I advise the citizens of this city to avail themselves of the right to carry a good powerful handgun and don't hesitate to use it against WHOEVER threatens them. I cannot imagine Bobby Dodd who, even though I feel the way I do about cops, I STILL consider to be the best chief of police this hole above ground has ever had, would EVER put either of these two back behind the wheel of a patrol car. I think he'll manage to find enough paper for them shuffle so that they'll never have to buy another pair of shoes.

September 28, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Conservative, people with Autism do not feel pain either, and many are non verbal. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth published a report that the greatest danger facing an adult with autism was a police encounter. Not my words. Lack of training in metal illness has caused Autism and other conditions to be criminalized. The Hamilton County Jail is used to incarcerate the mentally ill due to lack of space. The entire system is screwed up.

September 28, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

aae1049 you are completely correct about those who have autism. The greatest danger any autistic adult has to face is an encounter with a policeman. Ordinary people have little enough chance against these clowns, but any one with autism that a cop just looks at as "weird" has two strikes against him or her to start with. My wife taught autistic children and she and I both developed bonds with some of these children and it hurts when you know that they don't much of a chance of anything like a normal life even without the distinct possibility of being beaten to death by a never to sufficiently damned cop! And anyone who has never seen the inside of the Hamilton county needs to count him or her self extremely lucky. To call that craphole a facility is like putting perfume on a hog.

September 28, 2013 at 12:33 p.m.
conservative said...

Aae1049:

So, what are you saying? Are you saying the man had Autism?

September 28, 2013 at 1 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It won't be long before a case of a civilian killing a cop in self-defense happens in Chattanooga.

If the honest cops wish to protect themselves they'd best eliminate the sociopaths and thugs in their ranks.

Otherwise, one day a jury will begin finding those who hurt and kill cops 'not guilty' by reason of self-defense.

Without a doubt, some cops have gotten away with murder. Some innocent civilians have been sent to jail or death-row for self-defense against thugs such as Emmer and Cooley.

These two banditos-in-blue, should they return to the CPD, should be required to wear electronic monitoring devices and have live video cameras attached to their chests so that their actions can be monitored continuously.

All police should be given monthly drug tests. These two appear to be raging steroid users — all bulk, no brains, who live for 'stick time' and opportunities to physically abuse civilians.

September 28, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.
sagoyewatha said...

Hopefully, the next time a career felon gets psychotic on junk and decides to do murder and mayhem, 911 can just send the highly qualified, by training and experience, dynamic duo of daytondarwin and RShultz. That way, no worries...

September 28, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Maybe so in leiu of a couple of Uncle Fester lookalike thugs in blue, whose lack of ability to restrain a little guy 1/4 their size is laughable, who couldn't get their breath after 30 seconds of unsuccessful takedown, whose only resort was to take batons and beat on a guy because he made them look like weak, stupid gorillas, who will get more a a settlement than these Keystone Cops make in a lifetime, who, though a crook, has opened Chattanooga Police Department to ridicule as a backwoods 1950s style beatdown-club for derelict cops, who showed the world via youtube what form police action in Chattanooga takes.

And some people want to call these guys "Heroes?"

Seems like Tatum won after all.

I'm happy there's video. Maybe it should run at each entrance to Chattanooga, at the rest stops outside of town, have the Chamber of Commerce put it on their website, just show the world how proud we are of Emmer and Cooley.

That's the ticket.

September 28, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.
aae1049 said...

No, I am not saying the man involved in this incident had Autism. However, I am saying that Autistic persons do not respond typically to pain either.

I am also saying that mental illness is being criminalized by incarceration in the Hamilton County Jail, and that mental heath patients do not respond in a normal way, and their illness results in wrongful incarceration. It is immoral and inhuman to criminalize mental illness. The system is screwed up. That is what I am saying. And was this man mentally ILL?

September 28, 2013 at 9:53 p.m.
joneses said...

Why did the thug not just put his hands behind his back?

September 29, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.
RShultz210 said...

daytonsdarwin said...

Maybe so in leiu of a couple of Uncle Fester lookalike thugs in blue, whose lack of ability to restrain a little guy 1/4 their size is laughable

Outstanding Darwin, and I would like to think that between the two of us that there is a definite possibility that we COULD have handled the situation better than those two Xeroxed copies of Elmer Fudd did.

September 30, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

aae1049

Please don't pay any serious attention to Conservative. He is what is known in the world of discussion forums as a troll. He will deliberately pick out certain parts of what you post and twist them in order to try to make you look bad or make you angry. I have personally witnessed the way people with mental or emotional problems are handled at the rathole they refer to as the Hamilton County jail, and the treatment they receive is reprehensible and should be investigated along with the treatment of the regular inmates.

September 30, 2013 at 4:32 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

There are some people who think that addiction to any illegal drug, and some legal ones is a moral failing that should be punished. Then are those of us who know better. There are those of us, myself included who have lost a dear family member to the disease of addiction. Addiction to cocaine is particularly hard to deal with, and particularly hard on the individual and on his or her family. I lost my little sister whom I loved dearly to an over-dose of cocaine on April 4th of this year. We all thought that she had managed to overcome her addiction and was doing well, but one setback such as severe pain for instance, can cause a person to start to lose the battle between pain and addiction. Between the real world of poverty, pain, racism, and the many events that can cause even an individual who does NOT have a problem with drugs to falter, and to make mistakes. Many times it is due to just a lapse in will power, which is so VERY important in conquering addiction, but many times it is also due to events which are not under the control of the individual suffering from addiction. This is what happened to my sister. She was clean for a while, but she broke her foot and the doctors who knew her history would not provide her with the pain medication that might have kept her from starting to think about cocaine again. And so the pain plus the stress of taking care of our mother who is 81, caused her to lose the battle and this time her life. I don't know Mr. Tatum. And I don't know his situation prior to the beating he took, but I do know this. The rest of his life will be an uphill battle against encounters with drugs and encounters with people like Mr. Emmer and Mr. Cooley who do not care about Mr. Tatum's problems nor do they care about him as a human being. And I do know this too. If we can afford the TAZERS, the OC spray, and the batons to torture people into compliance with the authoritarian monster this country has turned into in violation of The UN Convention on Torture which we SIGNED, then we can damned well afford to train at least ONE officer in another technique that has been used to subdue people with problems like Mr. Tatum has. That technique is called mercy, understanding, and the ability to communicate. It will quite often diffuse a situation and a person like Mr. Tatum without having to almost kill him to do it. It is well that the city is going to appeal this judge's unwise decision, but it is like a physician trying to treat the symptoms of a disease without trying to treat the disease itself. Morphine will treat the pain of gallstones for only a certain length of time before the gallstones must be removed. Aggressive, painful arrest techniques may make it easier on law enforcement personnel, but eventually the poverty and injustice which are the causes of most crimes must be removed also, or the arrests become more and more difficult until people start dying.

October 1, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.
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