Roger Heard Jr. and family
Attorneys for a 34-year-old man killed in a conflict with police say officers acted recklessly.
Attorneys McCracken Poston, Jonathan Grunberg and Mark Begnaud said, "Mr. Heard was pulling away from a gas pump at a crowded Speedway gas station on East 3rd Street in Chattanooga when an unmarked police car blocked his vehicle. A plainclothes police officer wearing a tactical belt got out and rushed him with a gun, and the officer’s claim that he was wearing a badge and identified himself has not been independently confirmed.
"That officer and other officers appear to exchange gunfire with Mr. Heard and, in the exchange, both the officer and Mr. Heard were shot. Then, as Mr. Heard lay wounded on the ground with his gun out of reach, the officer kept shooting, emptying his clip and killing Mr. Heard.
"Mr. Heard’s family and their attorneys are demanding the immediate release of all audio and video of the incident. The video that has previously been released shows the Chattanooga Police Department violated Mr. Heard’s constitutional rights. The attorneys have also learned that the officer who killed Mr. Heard has a history of aggressive and dangerous behavior while on patrol.
"While our independent investigation into this deadly police shooting is ongoing, it is clear even at this early juncture that officers with the Chattanooga Police Department acted recklessly when they served an arrest warrant on Mr. Heard at a busy gas station. The officers made several aggressive and irresponsible tactical decisions and violated Mr. Heard’s constitutional rights.
"The Chattanooga Police Department officers’ conduct needlessly put the lives of the public in danger in a crowded gas station. Mr. Heard’s family demands a transparent investigation and public accountability. Mr. Heard’s family does not want to see any lives lost: not that of Mr. Heard, a beloved son and father, or that of the plainclothes officer who accosted him.
"The citizens of Chattanooga deserve to know if plainclothes officers in an unmarked police car charging into a crowded gas station with guns blazing is what the Chattanooga Police Department trains its officers to do. And they deserve to know if the job of a Chattanooga Police Department officer is to continue shooting a man who is already lying on the ground shot, wounded and with no weapon in hand.”