Attorneys Stevie Phillips and Bryan Hoss, speaking in behalf of Officer Adam Emmer, said Thursday that an inmate at a halfway house who was beaten by officers started the incident by "terrorizing employees" at the facility, including holding a knife on one.
He made the comments in response to the release of the video of Adam Tatum’s arrest through his attorney Robin Flores. Two officers were fired over the incident and attorney Flores filed a Federal Court lawsuit.
Attorneys Phillips and Hoss said, "Adam Tatum is a convicted, violent felon who was serving the remainder of his sentence at a half-way house. On this night, he was admittedly high on crack cocaine and armed with a deadly weapon.
"After refusing a drug test, Tatum began terrorizing the employees and another inmate. In fear for their lives, the employees locked themselves in a control room while Tatum held an inmate at knifepoint and kicked the control room door. The employees called 911. When the officers arrived, Tatum tried to escape into a weight room where there were other inmates. He reportedly said “[expletive] ya’ll” and “take me to jail.”
"Chattanooga officers are trained to never assume that a suspect has only 1 weapon. This City has seen officers killed in the line of duty after deescalating force only to learn that the criminal has a second weapon. Here, Tatum turned on these officers with a knife and attacked. He repeatedly ignored the lawful orders to 'stop resisting' and 'put your hands behind your back.' The officers can be heard on this video commanding him to stop more than 80 times.
"The city’s internal investigation states that these 'officers followed the Use of Force Continuum as best as possible.' A Hamilton County grand jury failed to indict and found no evidence to bring charges. There are no criminal charges facing these officers, nor should there be.
"As a result of Tatum’s actions against Officer Emmer and other officers, Tatum pled guilty to four counts of assault and is serving time in Silverdale. These Chattanooga Police Officers were only present because of Tatum’s decision to get high on crack and assault innocent people."