Violence Reduction Initiative Leader Facing Drug, Alcohol Charges; City Halts His Involvement In Program

Saturday, June 7, 2014
Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett

A leader of a non-profit group working in the city's violence reduction initiative was arrested on Friday night on drug charges.

Richard Kevin Bennett, 48, of 4710 Fairwood Lane, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance (pills), misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and an open container violation.

He was transported to the County Jail, and he later made bond.

Police said they were dispatched at 11:10 p.m. to be on the lookout for a silver or blue minivan driving erratically around East Lake Park.

An officer spotted the silver minivan pulled down into the grass in the southeast corner of the park. The passenger side sliding glass door was open and Bennett was inside with a female.

Police said Bennett's pants were unzipped.

When asked for his ID, he reached into his pocket and a small baggie fell out, an officer said. The officer said it appeared that he picked it up and put it in his pocket.

The officer relocated him for a patdown, but he did not find a baggie.

Police said Bennett had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Two open Budweiser beers and an open bottle of Patron liquor were in plain view in the vehicle.

A small amount of marijuana was found in the glove compartment. Both individuals denied any knowledge of the marijuana.

Police said Bennett had a pill container on his keys that contained seven hydro pills without a prescription with it.

Qwentina Holiday said she was meeting Bennett to ask for money.

Bennett said he was meeting the woman to get information on the violence reduction initiative. 

City officials said, "We will not tolerate criminal activity from anyone in our community – whether they are associated with the a city initiative or not. We are extremely disappointed in Mr. Bennett's actions and have halted his involvement with Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative (VRI).

"Chattanooga VRI has been successful since its start in March and we will continue to meet the day-to-day needs of those who have reached out for help through our existing partnerships with other agencies. The success of the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative is dependent on our entire community putting an end to violence -- not one person or one agency."


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