When you are stopped by the Chattanooga police or a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper, it is always recommended that you remain calm, greet the officer politely and follow their instructions. And the public expects that an officer will treat them professionally and with courtesy, even if they have been pulled over for a serious offense, like a DUI.
A case involving a man who was arrested on DUI this spring just outside of Chattanooga by the Red Bank police department raises questions of the professional nature of an arrest and further questions about the procedure used to indict a man who had been stopped by a police officer and was apparently beaten by officers involved in his arrest.
The man was passenger in a vehicle that was stopped. During the stop, he suffered facial cuts and a broken eye socket requiring a metal plate. His attorneys filed an excessive force complaint with the police department. The department’s internal affairs unit absolved the officers. And now, there more questions concerning the arrest, the grand jury indictment and the internal affairs investigation.
A dash-cam from one of the officers patrol cars show two officers holding the suspect down and one of the officers pummels the man with seven punches to the head according to his attorneys.
The man’s attorneys have obtained a rehearing by the grand jury, because the grand jury did not have access to the video at the time of their indictment. According to the news report during a preliminary hearing, the officer stated the video was unavailable, even though it had been subpoenaed.
While a DUI is a serious offense, it is unclear why the man was beaten and taken into custody, although the fact he was undocumented and did not speak English may have played a role in the officer escalation of their use of force.
The officer involved in this arrest has had a few previous instances of questionable DUI arrests, and this case demonstrates why you should have legal representation anytime you have been arrested.
WDEF.com, “Red Bank Police beating captured on video,” Erik Avanier, September 23, 2014