Officers Call East Lake Courts City's Most Dangerous Spot

Judge Sets Maximum 6-Year Sentence With Community Corrections After 11/29 For Man Charged With Breaking Officer's Jaw

Monday, April 28, 2014 - by John Wilson
Jeremiah Romine
Jeremiah Romine

Officers testified Monday in Criminal Court about patrolling East Lake Courts, calling it the city's most dangerous spot.

Officer John Patterson, whose jaw was broken in three places at the public housing site last June 29, said, "It's a very dangerous place and any time I go there I'm on high alert. It's dangerous for anyone, including police."

He said, "Probably more assaults on police officers occur there than anywhere else." He said a number of shootings and drug sales happen there. 

Officer Justin Headden also told of numerous assaults and other crimes at East Lake Courts. He said an officer was shot multiple times just a short distance from where Officer Patterson was attacked.

Chattanooga Housing Authority officials have indicated that East Lake Courts, by I-24 at the 4th Avenue exit, will be phased out probably within a decade.

After a lengthy hearing, Criminal Court Judge Don Poole gave Jeremiah Romine the maximum six years for the attack on Officer Patterson. He allowed him to go on community corrections after serving 11 months and 29 days at the workhouse. The judge said Romine, who is bi-polar and oppositional defiant disorder, must stay on his medication.

Romine, 22, has already served 10 months.

Officer Patterson, who said he has been assaulted about 10 times during his short career with the Crime Suppression Unit, said Romine turned on him and began slugging him in the face after he grabbed his arm.

He said often when he is attacked it is a tactic for the assailant to get away. He said, "This was full on - fast and furious." He said he was finally able to gain his composure and fight back. Romine then ran around a building. He was caught when he ran full circle back to where the assault occurred.

Officer Patterson said Romine continued to curse and yell even after he was tased. He said he banged his head against the inside of a police car and at the hospital he had to be tied to a bed.

 Romine took the witness stand and apologized, saying he had been off his medication for months. He said his mother died and his father is in prison. He was raised by foster parents, but is now estranged from them. He said he was homeless for a year and a half, living in a box under a bridge and elsewhere.

At the time of the incident, he said he had been staying with a female at East Lake Courts.

He said the officer stopped him to ask him where a man who was with him with warrants against him had gone. He said when the officer got close to him a spot of saliva from the officer landed on the side of his mouth. He said at that time "the bad side of Jeremiah" came out.  

Prosecutor Cameron Williams asked for prison time, saying Romine had hit his foster father in 2005 and assaulted another officer in 2008. He said he had his probation revoked four times and there is a hold on him in two other counties.

He said Officer Patterson had to have his jaw wired shut for weeks and could not eat solid food during that time. He said he still has problems with his mouth and jaw.


Red Bank Commission Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the agenda for the Red Bank Commission meeting on Tuesday: I. Call to Order – Mayor John Roberts II. Roll Call – City Manager ___ Mayor Roberts, ___ Vice-Mayor Pierce, ___ Commissioner Causer, ___ Commissioner LeCompte, ___ Commissioner Pope III. Invocation – IV. Pledge of Allegiance – V. Consideration of the Minutes for approval or correction: A. November ... (click for more)

U.S. Postal Employee Arrested While On Duty On Drug Charges

A U.S. Postal employee was arrested on Friday while on duty for possession of heroin, methamphetamine and assorted drug paraphernalia.   After a several month investigation, agents from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics and Special Operations Division, arrested Gary Lee Thompson, 50, of Ooltewah. Thompson ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote DesJarlais Out!

There are two good bills in both the Senate and the House of Representatives right now that are directly aimed at the sadistic villains who derive some sick pleasure out of torturing helpless Tennessee Walking Horses. They call it “soring,” where caustic materials are lathered into a horse’s forelegs and then wrapped in plastic so they’ll cook. Sometimes they use nails or screws ... (click for more)

Red Bank Girls Stay Unbeaten With 53-51 Win Over Soddy Daisy

The Red Bank Lionettes pulled out a 53-51 victory over the Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans on Tuesday night at Red Bank's Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium, but the win was more signicant for Red Bank coach Bailey McGinnis than probably any she'll celebrate the rest of the season. You see, her older brother Drew Lyness is the Soddy Daisy coach and he had bragging rights after winning both ... (click for more)

UTC Basketball: Women Host Arkansas State Tonight at 6:30 p.m.

The UTC women's basketball team (3-2) host undefeated Arkansas State (3-0) tonight at McKenzie Arena at 6:30 pm. The Mocs lost to Tennessee 59-57 Monday and host UT-Martin Saturday at 6 p.m. before No.1 UConn comes to town next Monday at 6:30 p.m. UTC is led by Keiana Gilbert with 12.6 pppg and Jas Joyner with 10.2 ppg. As a team, UTC is outscoring opponents, 56.2 to 52.6. ... (click for more)