Chattanooga Police said they do not believe any gang initiation took place as charged by a man who said on Facebook that he was attacked by a gang near Market Street and Aquarium Way (Second Street).
Police said the man, who did not file a police report initially, is now refusing to talk about it.
The man said he had to fight off several youths in an incident last Sunday between midnight and 1 a.m.
after leaving Buffalo Wild Wings to go to his car on Cherry Street. He said he saw another man nearby also being attacked by youths.
Police at the time said they had no reports of any such incident taking place.
Sources said police have obtained from a downtown public safety camera video showing the man arguing with another man, then going over and getting the other man in a headlock. Sources said the video shows the other man hit the one who came over to him, then hit him again. Then several individuals who were at the scene of the fight began following the man who filed the report, it was stated.
The man said he was taking his Facebook page down, saying, "I have had extraordinary amounts of evil behavior/comments sent my way for sharing something that happened to me. For that reason, I am pulling my Facebook account. Thank you to those who have taken my encounter seriously. No reason to lie and I have nothing to prove to naysayers. This could happen to you next. God bless you all."
Police said, "The Chattanooga Police Department is providing an update on the status of the open investigation into an alleged incident in downtown this past weekend.
"As previously noted, the complainant filed a report with CPD on Monday evening (September 13) after a CPD Officer contacted him directly. CPD officers interviewed the complainant that evening then began the investigation. After obtaining information and evidence, the officers attempted to follow up with the complainant who declined to speak with them again. The officers followed up with the complainant again on Tuesday (September 14) to no avail.
"At this time, the investigation does not indicate that any 'gang initiation activity' was conducted nor that a kidnapping was attempted. CPD continues to try to identify and locate others who may have been in the area where the incident is alleged to have occurred. CPD asks anyone who may have witnessed or have video of this incident to please call 423-698-2525. The date/time we’re looking for is September 12, 2021 between 12:00 a.m.-1 a.m. in the 100 block of Market Street, Second Street between Market and Cherry Streets, and the 200 block of Cherry Street.
"CPD is aware of safety concerns some community members have expressed. We are also aware of comments made on various social media platforms and posts that are unable to be substantiated."
Interim Chief Eric Tucker said, “In our current climate with social media, let’s not poke holes in the fabric of our community by sharing stories or inflammatory remarks that are meant to tear others down or incite fear or anger.”
This was the original Facebook post:
"Please keep your eye on your surroundings and do not travel alone. I was a random target of possible gang initiation tactics yesterday.
"As I walked to my car on Cherry St in downtown Chattanooga, I felt an odd presence behind me. I turned around to see 5-6 teenagers pacing behind me. They all had red shirts on. No masks, bandanas, or weapons that I know of. I made a brief attempt to redirect toward the downtown street lights in the case something happens, it would at least be witnessed.
"I did not make it three steps before getting punched in the face and tackled by 3-4 other guys. I got kicked in the ribs, throat, head, etc. I asked why this was happening, and was told “because you was here ni@@a”. I was pushed into an old, red sedan, what I believe was a Corolla. I fought my way out, shouting for help. There was another man in his mid 40’s across the street getting attacked simultaneously by multiple people. We briefly made eye contact with each other as our ribs were getting kicked. I offered my wallet, phone, watch, and keys to these kids. They did not want any of it, oddly enough. Based on my experience, I would guess this was some type of gang initiation directive.
"I do not post on Facebook often, so I hope this can change or save lives in one way or another. Travel in packs. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Protect yourself.
"This is not a political or race associated post. This is an awareness post to let those in the area know what is happening in our town. I will wait for Facebook fact checkers to verify & validate this message, but until then, God bless."