Officer Involved In Adam Tatum Incident Denies That He Used Excessive Force

Thursday, June 27, 2013
Sean Emmer on the witness stand
Sean Emmer on the witness stand
- photo by Brent McDonald (See video on NewsChannel 9)

A former city police officer who was fired for his actions in trying to get an inmate into custody at a Salvation Army halfway house denied Thursday that his actions were excessive.

Sean Emmer told an administrative law judge that he was following his police training in trying to get Adam Tatum into custody on June 14, 2012.

Emmer and Adam Cooley were fired by Police Chief Bobby Dodd in the incident that was caught on video and audio. They are asking Kim Summers of Nashville to give them their jobs back. She has 15 days in which to rule after the close of the hearing at City Hall.

Former officer Emmer said he never encountered a suspect who was so resistant to police orders or who was so strong. He could be heard asking Tatum, "What are you on, man?" near the end of the video.

He said he was summoned to the facility on McCallie Avenue and found Tatum kicking on a door and holding another inmate by the shirt. He said there was a group of inmates nearby in a weight room watching his interaction with Tatum. He said if they had spilled over into the room they likely could have overcome himself and officer Chip Smith.

The former officer said soon after he began struggling with Tatum he saw a knife fall to the floor. He said he was able to get possession of the knife, but he said he was taught that "where there is one weapon there is two."

He said he began striking Tatum in the legs with his baton when he refused to roll over and be handcuffed. He hit the inmate some 40 times.

He told the hearing officer that after officer Smith tased Tatum he pulled the prongs out, got up and ran across the room. "I had never seen anyone do that," he said.

Also, he said Tatum was able to get out from under himself and Smith - a total of about 500 pounds. And he said it took five officers to finally handcuff Tatum.

Attorney Stevie Phillips pointed out that the Hamilton County Grand Jury refused to indict former officer Emmer, though he was not there to defend himself. She said federal authorities looked into the matter and sent a letter saying he would not be prosecuted.

The former officer said he believed that Chief Dodd had his mind made up to fire him before his disciplinary hearing began. "I could tell that the second I walked in," he said.

He said he was not provided material he asked for to prepare for the hearing. 

The hearing will resume next Wednesday.

  


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, SHERKINA DIANE  561 ARLINGTON AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga CONTRABAND IN PENAL INSTITUTIONS POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE --- ALMOND, GUS BERNARD  812 WOODMORE LANE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 51 years old ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Cocaine Dealer, Who Said He Did It To Support His 7 Kids, Given 10-Year Federal Sentence

A Chattanooga cocaine dealer, who said he did it to support his seven kids, was ordered Monday to serve 10 years in federal prison. Reginald Dewayne McKenzie, who is originally from Atlanta and whose family is there, appeared before Judge Sandy Mattice. His attorney, Anthony Martinez of the Federal Defender's Office, said McKenzie finished high school and some college. ... (click for more)

Six Commissioners Owe Us An Explanation - And Response (2)

Two-thirds of the Hamilton County Commission owe us an explanation as to why they feel it appropriate to take $900,000 of our money out of savings to spend on whatever suits their fancy, oversight be darned.  Those six commissioners are: Randy Fairbanks (D-1), Jim Fields (D-2), Warren Mackey (D-4), Sabrena Turner-Smedley (D-7), Tim Boyd (D-8), and Chester Bankston (D-9).  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tonight, Take A Second

Peter Whibberley, known globally as “The Time Lord,” will freely tell anyone, “There are consequences of tinkering with time,” but tinker we must because the world – planet Earth -- is spinning slower. So tonight at 7:59:60 p.m. EDT, the Senior Research Scientist at Britain’s National Physical Laboratory will add an extra second to the hour – and our day -- before it becomes 8:00 ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Swimmers Get First Win Of Season

There are a lot of positive and upbeat coaches in the Chattanooga Area Swim League, but perhaps none any more than Fort Oglethorpe veteran Tony Womac. This guy is always happy, always smiling and always offering something positive to those around him. He may have been just a bit more of all the above on Monday night after his Marlins defeated the Cumberland Currents in a home ... (click for more)

John Shearer: A Look At The Origin Of The Lady Vols’ Name

On Wednesday, the University of Tennessee is scheduled to drop the Lady Vols nickname from all women’s sports teams except the basketball squad.   The change has been a source of much debate, particularly in Knoxville. As evidence, several people wanting to keep the Lady Vols name protested last Thursday along Joe Johnson Drive, near where the UT board of trustees was meeting ... (click for more)