A Chattanooga man who was arrested erroneously while starting on a family vacation to Iceland has filed suit for $27 million.
George Harrison is suing the city and Chattanooga Police officers Kaumar Hughes and Mathew Lynch in Federal Court.
He is suing the city for $5 million and the officers for $1 million each. He is asking $20 million punitive damages in the complaint filed by attorney Clayton Whittaker.
The suit says on May 18, 2018, officers were called to 4700 Montview Dr. where they encountered Rene Richards, who said she was assaulted by her boyfriend. She named him George Harris or George Harrison.
The suit says, "Ms. Richards gave a list of identifiers. She stated he was a middle aged white male in his 50’s, with a red beard and that he drove a black Dodge truck, and had a large mole on his left arm. Officers used their computers to search for “George Harrison” in the driver’s license data base. Officers accessed a picture of the Plaintiff and showed it to the victim at Erlanger Hospital. She identified the plaintiff. Ms. Richards was injured from a severe beating and was intoxicated.
"Officers were unable to access the vehicle registration to corroborate other information about the vehicle driven by the suspect due to malfunction of the system. Further, officers did not seek access to vehicle records to exculpate Plaintiff. The Plaintiff George Harrison’s physical identifiers did not match the description given by the victim. Officers did not assess the investigation and all of the factors to determine if probable cause existed."
Officers Hughes and Lynch issued the warrant for George Harrison after consultation with the special victim unit, it was stated.
On June 30, 2018, Mr. Harrison and wife Mallory arrived by plane at the Baltimore Washington Marshal airport. George and Mallory Harrison met with Kay Olive, his mother and other family members. The family was traveling to Iceland for a family vacation.
Upon attempting to board the plane for Iceland, George Harrison was arrested by Homeland Security and local police and taken into custody. He was handcuffed and taken to a secure area in the airport. The arrest occurred in the presence of his family and other travelers. After hours passed the arrest warrant from Hamilton County was transmitted to the local police and George Harrison was taken from the airport to the Anne Arundel County, Maryland detention center and jail.
The suit says Mr. Harrison and the remainder of the family were unable to travel on the family vacation. He remained in the custody of the Sherriff of Anne Arundel County for three days.
The case in Hamilton County afterward was dismissed based upon Mr. Harrison being misidentified.
The suit says the victim of the aggravated assault, Rene Richards, " indicated that George was misidentified."
Mr. Harrison was released from custody on July 2, 2018.
The suit says he suffered injury to his shoulders from being handcuffed by police in Anne Arundel County.
It says he "immediately and continually communicated to Defendant City of Chattanooga that they had arrested the wrong person and that the investigation misidentified him and that he was falsely arrested. The city of Chattanooga did not release the Plaintiff."
The suit said the city did not properly train the officers in making certain they were arresting the correct person.