published Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Lawsuit says 3 Chattanooga police officers used Taser without provocation

A lawsuit filed Monday in Hamilton County Circuit Court alleges that three Chattanooga police officers illegally went on to a resident's property and used a Taser on him without provocation.

The lawsuit seeks $600,000 from the city.

Officers Derek Roncin, Corneilus Gaines and John Watkins were named in the lawsuit filed by local attorney Robin Flores on behalf of resident Steven James Hacker.

According to the documents the incident happened on July 25, 2013. Roncin followed Hacker to the home Hacker shared with his grandmother Peggy Williams.

Roncin asked to speak with Hacker; Hacker refused.

Roncin "became enraged" according to the court documents. Hacker went inside the home.

Gaines pounded on the front door of the home. Hacker said unless the officers had warrants for his arrest he would not talk with them.

Eventually Hacker came out of the home with his hands raised. Without warning, according to the complaint, Watkins fired a Taser, striking Hacker.

As a result of the Taser strike and the subsequent fall Hacker "suffered life threatening lacerations to an artery under his right arm, another deep laceration by his right collar bone and a large piece of glass impaled his back close to his spine."

There has not yet been an answer filed by the city of Chattanooga nor has a court date been set.

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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