Angry City Council Wants Answers On Incident Caught On Video Of Man Being Beaten By City Police Officer; Asks DA For Independent Probe

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Angry City Council members said they want answers on an incident caught on camera of a Chattanooga Police officer shown beating a man after a traffic stop.
 
The council on Tuesday night voted to ask District Attorney Neal Pinkston to carry out an independent investigation of the incident from last March.
 
Councilman Russell Gilbert said, "I want to see a change in our Police Department and our city as a whole."
 
He said, "Ninety-five percent of our police officers are great, but the other five percent need to go."
 
Councilman Gilbert said, "When in the past did we give all power to one person - the police chief.
What can we do to balance that out?" He said a police independent review board needs to have stronger powers.
 
Council members said said such incidents need to be handled quickly and less secretive.
 
Councilman Chip Henderson, who oversees the public safety committee, said Police Chief David Roddy will be available next Tuesday to answer questions about the issue.
 
Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said the victims in such incidents seem to always be black. She said, "I don't see anybody from your community that's getting beat."
 
She said, "Why has this officer not been identified and had his picture all over the news?"
 
Councilwoman Coonrod and other council members discussed making a request to District Attorney Pinkston to have the officer arrested. She said, "I am full force for full prosecution." 
 
She also said, "Why has our mayor not taken a stand on this? Why has he been silent about it?"
 
She said from what has happened in the case thus far "it seems almost like it is being condoned."
 
City Attorney Phil Noblett said the officer has a right to "due process" on allegations against him.
 
He noted that the victim in the case apparently did not file any complaint at the time, but now has a lawyer and is planning to file suit.
 
Council members questioned why a use of force report was not filed in the case. Councilwoman Carol Berz said, "I understand 'True Blue,' but why did the other officers who saw it not say anything to anybody?"
 
It was also questioned why an internal affairs investigation seems to take so long and not be made public.
 
Councilman Anthony Byrd said the video shows a city officer come up and tell the driver, "Get the f---- out of the car. He said the man places his arms in the air and then his hands on the top of his car. He said the officer tells him, "I'll beat the sh-- out of you."
 
Chairman Ken Smith said, "We fully intend to pursue this. I am very angry about it myself."
 
The officer has been placed on leave. Attorney Noblett said that is part of the process.
 
Chief Roddy said earlier, "The Chattanooga Police Department is aware of a video circulating on social media relating to a traffic stop that occurred on March 3, 2018. More importantly, we share in the concern it has caused in our community. Let me assure everyone that your police department and its internal affairs unit are reviewing all related materials, videos, and evidence and a formal internal investigation has started.
 
"Due to the fact that the charges incurred by the driver are bound over to the grand jury and a CPD administrative investigation is proceeding we are unable to discuss or disclose details related to the matter. However, as this progresses through these processes and we are able to release additional information, we will do so."

"The CPD officer who is the subject of the internal investigation has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation." 

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