Chattanooga Police say videos show that a man who claimed he was attacked by gangs downtown actually initiated a fight and was intoxicated and belligerent.
Police said their investigation showed a number of discrepancies in Stuart Doster's Facebook account that was widely viewed.
Mr. Doster on Facebook said he was walking to his car on Cherry Street in downtown Chattanooga when he "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."
He said he was beaten up and the group tried to force him into a car. He said he saw another man nearby also being attacked.
Police said they did learn there was a group of 6-8 black teens being disorderly in that area last Sunday night.
The group was reported to be "loud and disorderly" at the Big Chill. A couple walking on the Walnut Street Bridge said the group got up close behind them and "made them very uncomfortable." They said the group arrived on the south side of the bridge and walked down toward Market Street.
Police said after publicity about the alarming Doster post on Facebook they contacted him to get more information. He agreed to talk to an officer at his home. The officer said Doster stated that he was at Buffalo Wild Wings to pick up a to go order just before the incident. He gave an account of the attack similar to his Facebook post.
He said he ran back to Buffalo Wild Wings and was attended to by a female employee. He said he then went home, saying he was "too scared, tired and concussed" to talk to police.
The officer who went to his house said he observed abrasions to the palms of his hands, knees and elbows along with a small scratch across the bridge of his nose and his left shoulder.
An employee at Buffalo Wild Wings said she remembered a customer running inside the restaurant asking for help. He was bleeding from the knees and making statements about a fight.
That night an officer was called to Buffalo Wild Wings concerning a fight, but he "did not find a fight."
A bartender said Mr. Doster was inside Buffalo Wild Wings for an hour and a half to two hours but did not order food as he said. The bartender said he had one tall Miller Lite beer and one glass of Pinot Grigio wine.
Police said they were told that an employee of Buffalo Wild Wings had a video of an incident that occurred outside the restaurant. Police were shown the video that was posted on Facebook by "Shiesty Child." It showed Mr. Doster get punched in the face by a black male wearing a white shirt and black jeans. Police said in the video Mr. Doster appeared to be heavily intoxicated. The video showed him walking away from the man before getting punched again.
At the nearby Leapin' Leprechaun bar, an employee said Mr. Doster was there but was not served because of his heavy intoxication. He said Mr. Doster "was being belligerent."
An officer said he again contacted Mr. Doster by phone, but said he "was noticeably less cooperative than when we had spoken earlier." The officer said when he was told that video and witness statements contradicted what he had reported, Mr. Doster refused to answer any questions and said if police again came to his home he would call his attorney.
Police said they then located a second video - the public safety camera at First and Market. They said it showed Mr. Doster exit Buffalo Wild Wings and walk to Leapin' Leprechaun at 12:24 p.m. At 12:35, he was seen walking back just south of Buffalo Wild Wings.
Police said for the next three minutes, Mr. Doster is seen exchanging words with the same black male with a white shirt and black jeans as seen in the Facebook video. Police said the black male was inside a walled area and Mr. Doster was outside that area.
Police said Mr. Doster can then be seen going into the walled area and getting nose to nose with the black male. He then tries to grapple the man, but gets spun around in the process, it was stated. Police said the video shows him get shoved and hit in the face. He got up from the ground and again walked over to the man, who hit him again in the face. Police said the man followed Mr. Doster to the sidewalk, then hit him once again. Mr. Doster then walked off.
Police said at 12:46 p.m., Mr. Doster can be seen walking up Aquarium Way (2nd Street) toward Cherry Street. Four-eight unidentified males are seen following him up the hill before going out of sight of the camera. Less than a minute later, Mr. Doster is seen running back down to Market Street, where he falls down. He was being chased by several people. He then ran back into Buffalo Wild Wings.
Police said they called Mr. Doster telling him about the public safety video. They said he advised he was at his doctor's office getting his injuries checked out. He said he would advise later of a good time and meeting place. He said he did not want any more publicity from the incident.
Police said Mr. Doster never called back, and when they went to his home, no one answered the door.
An investigator said, "Due to Mr. Doster becoming uncooperative, I am unable to do any more follow-up." The officer said he was unable to find any cameras at the location of the alleged assault. He said, "In addition, Mr. Doster's inaccurate account of pertinent details muddies the waters of the rest of the details he provided."
Police also stated, "When we met with Mr. Doster he provided inaccurate statements that can be clearly refuted by RTIC footage as well as witness statements. He omitted the detail that he engaged in a fight in front of Buffalo Wild Wings and that he was as intoxicated as witnesses described. In that segment of video, he also appears to be the instigator.
"Due to his inconsistencies, it is reasonable to believe that he could have been dishonest about other facts of his story but at this time he is unwilling to cooperate so no further information can be gathered.
"On top of all of this is his statement to police that the original assault and attempted kidnapping occurred in the 200 block of Cherry Street. Immediately after getting away from his attackers he says that he ran into Buffalo Wild Wings. According to RTIC footage Mr. Doster begins walking up the hill on 2nd Street. (A short time later) he can be seen running back down the hill being chased by what appears to be juvenile African American males. Sergeant Patterson went to this location and walked up 2nd Street from Market Street to Cherry Street in one minute. In essence, Mr. Doster is claiming that in one minute he reached Cherry Street, was assaulted, endured a beating, that his attackers attempted to put him in a vehicle, and then he was able to get away and run back to Buffalo Wild Wings.
"Having reviewed RTIC footage, and compared the timing to what he reported took place, there is without question not enough time for this to have taken place. For all of these reasons there is no further police action at this time."