Mayor Asks Public To Allow TBI To Finish Investigation Into Officer Involved Shooting

  • Thursday, August 17, 2023

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly on Thursday released the following statement regarding the recent officer involved shooting:

“What happened last week was a terrible incident for everyone involved: Our community, our wounded officer, our police family, and the family and loved ones of Roger Heard, Jr.

"When officer-involved shootings like these happen, best practice is to have an outside entity conduct an objective review so that the community can have full faith and confidence in the findings. That process is intentional, and it is good. By having an unbiased third party (in this case, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), which is a state-level law enforcement agency) reconstruct the details surrounding such an event, the public can be confident that the findings will be fact-based.

"Because this process happens separate from and outside of the purview or potential influence of the police department or of the mayor's office, there tends to be a period of time during which information is limited while the third party does its work. That’s where we are now.

"As the TBI conducts its independent probe into what exactly happened, I am asking for your patience, and I am asking that you not jump to conclusions. TBI agents are working diligently and impartially to determine the series of events that led to the exchange of gunfire. All of the facts will soon come to light.

"Officer Celtain Batterson only yesterday underwent an intensive surgery and has not yet been interviewed by investigators. That interview is critical to the TBI investigation. At the same time, we understand the family and friends of the deceased are grappling with new grief at the loss of a loved one.

"The frustration we saw and heard Tuesday night at City Council and on the steps of City Hall was clear and consistent with much of what I heard through the course of my campaign: We are working hard to build trust between our police department and the community. Chief Celeste Murphy’s demonstrated commitment to community policing was a major factor in my decision to hire her, and I have full confidence in her ability to help us navigate difficult situations like these.

"We all want the questions to be answered comprehensively and fairly, not hastily. The agencies involved are working to do that, and at the proper time all of the information related to this incident will be readily available.”

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