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.

  


Authorities Searching For Man Who Escaped From Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute

Dustin Adams, 26,  walked away from a court ordered evaluation at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. Officials from the Institute reported him missing at approximately  7:37 p.m .  Hamilton County Sheriff’s Corrections officers signed Adams over to the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute on Tuesday. Adams was not in the custody of the HCSO at ... (click for more)

Congress Sends President First State Department Authorization In 14 Years

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  on Saturd ay announced that for the first time  in 14 years , a State Department authorization bill will be sent to the president’s desk to be signed into law. The Senate unanimously approved   S.1635   on Saturday. It is legislation referred to the Senate earlier this week from the ... (click for more)

New School Funding Ideas

After reading the article “County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding,” I could not help but think about how helpful it would be to have the millions of taxpayer dollars given the owners of Walnut Common apartments to build some new schools.   In case you did not know, since 2008 our elected officials have given away millions in taxpayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Facebook Starlet

The Pants Store, a toney women’s boutique in Birmingham’s Mountain Book community, held its annual Holiday Open House about a week or so and, as usual, the popular store was full of customers and holiday cheer. It was a festive gathering, fun for all, but as store employees cleaned up for the next day, they happened across an empty designer-shoe box and a brassiere somebody had ... (click for more)

CSAS Gets Defensive In Win Over Boyd-Buchanan

High school basketball is still in the early stages of the 2016-17 season, but CSAS coach Mark Dragoo is already seeing improvement from his team and they’ve only played four games. The Patriots are always a good team with lots of quick, athletic players who can shoot well and play sticky defense. That was the case on Friday night at Boyd-Buchanan as the Patriots shot well ... (click for more)

Bradley Girls Stave Off Stone Memorial's Upset Bid, 48-46

The Bradley Central Bearettes’ ninth straight win to open the high school basketball season was their toughest to date. The Bearettes got a game-winning field goal from junior standout Rhyne Howard – on an assist by Halle Hughes – with no time left on the clock for a 48-46 non-district victory over stubborn Stone Memorial at Jim Smiddy Arena on Friday night. After a turnover ... (click for more)