The lobby floor of the Salvation Army — where former federal inmates are housed — was mostly covered in blood.
"That floor was covered," said Robin Flores, who filed a $50 million lawsuit on behalf of a 37-year-old Chattanooga man beaten by police. "It was like someone took a ketchup bottle and shook it around and sprayed it."
The lawsuit filed in Hamilton County Circuit Court names two former Chattanooga police officers, three current police officers, 11 unidentified police officers, the city and Erlanger Health Systems.
Adam Tatum suffered six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg -- including a compound fracture -- while he was being arrested on June 14 at the Salvation Army office on McCallie Avenue.
Officers had responded to a disorder at the facility where Tatum was reportedly kicking a door of the office and had a knife.
Flores said former Officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer along with other officers on the scene and hospital staff did nothing to help Tatum once he was injured and in custody.
As a result of the incident, Cooley and Emmer were fired. James Smith, one of the first responding officers, was not disciplined. Federal authorities have opened an investigation into Emmer and Cooley's actions.
Tatum remains incarcerated at Silverdale Correctional Facility. He uses a cane to walk, Flores said.
Flores said he studied the incident caught on video for three hours before drafting the complaint.
"I don't know if we'll get anywhere close to [$50 million], but when you look at that video and the injuries he sustained, I don't think that's too farfetched," Flores said.
"Within seconds of the beating, Emmer inflicted a compound open fracture of the plaintiff's left leg thereby causing plaintiff to spurt blood from the open fracture all about the lobby," the complaint states.
Flores said Smith and Emmer delivered more than 100 blows each to Tatum. Cooley struck Tatum more than 15 times on the face and head, the complaint states.
"And it continued. That beating went on for at least 10 minutes. What I thought was worse was they made this guy walk with an obvious fracture and bone sticking out of his leg. They made him walk 100 feet out to the street and plop him down. And Emmer kicks him," Flores said.
Flores said he offered the city a $350,000 settlement before he filed the lawsuit.
"We didn't receive a response," he said.
Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd declined to comment because an investigation is pending at the federal level and a lawsuit has been filed.
Two officers who were fired by Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd after brutally beating federal inmate Adam Tatum until his legs were broken could get their jobs back when they go before an administrative law judge.
Dodd says he'll present a case in hopes of making sure that doesn't happen.
"I'll lay the facts out and hopefully that person will look at this and say, 'It's excessive. It's outside the policies. And these officers do not need to be on the streets.' I personally would not subject the citizens of Chattanooga to these two officers and the type of action they took," Dodd told reporters during a news conference Thursday morning.
But attorneys for the two fired police officers defended their clients, Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley.
"Chattanooga officers are trained to never assume that a suspect has only one weapon. This city has seen officers killed in the line of duty after de-escalating force only to learn that the criminal has a second weapon," according to a statement from attorneys Stevie Phillips and Bryan Hoss.
"Here, Tatum turned on these officers with a knife and attacked. He repeatedly ignored the lawful orders to 'stop resisting' and 'put your hands behind your back.'"
Dodd called the beating that left 37-year-old Tatum with six fractures to his right leg and two fractures to his left leg -- including a compound fracture -- one of the worst cases of excessive force he has seen in his 25-year career.
"We do not condone this activity," Dodd said. "Nor will it be tolerated."
A video released Wednesday night by Tatum's attorney, Robin Flores, shows Emmer and Cooley beating Tatum.
At the time of the June 14, 2012, incident, Tatum was serving the final 55 days of a federal robbery sentence at a halfway house in the Salvation Army building on McCallie Avenue. Tatum was kicking the door of a room where staff members were gathered.
The building's surveillance cameras show that inmate Adrian McGhee tried to talk Tatum down. At the time staff members called authorities, Tatum was wielding a knife.
One officer took the knife and then both struck blow after blow to Tatum for about 10 minutes, telling him repeatedly to get on the ground and roll over.
Tatum's attorney has filed a $50 million lawsuit on his behalf.
Within a couple of hours of Dodd's news conference, the attorneys for the ex-officers characterized Tatum as "a convicted, violent felon."
"These Chattanooga police officers were only present because of Tatum's decision to get high on crack and assault innocent people," according to their statement.
Dodd said he initiated an internal investigation after an attorney told him to preserve surveillance footage at the Salvation Army. The officers were taken off the street. When the investigation wrapped up in November, Cooley and Emmer were terminated.
Dodd said he also presented the case to the Hamilton County grand jury, which viewed the footage and declined to indict. Federal authorities still are reviewing the case for possible charges.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said the incident is upsetting.
"We are doing everything we can to see that that case is prosecuted. We have presented it to all authorities," said Littlefield. "The behavior there is nothing to condone. I was disturbed. Who wouldn't be?"
Staff writer Joan Garrett contributed to this article.
Personnel records show one of the Chattanooga police officers fired after a man he arrested suffered severe injuries to his legs already had been flagged by a couple complaints of excessive force.
Officer Sean Emmer is one of two officers who was fired last week after a disciplinary hearing. Having worked for the department since 2008, Emmer had prior complaints -- none of which was upheld by internal investigations at the police department.
Officers are automatically flagged in the department's system if they get two or more administrative complaints, two or more citizen complaints or have five or more use-of-force incidents. Supervisors review the complaints to determine if there is an issue.
Emmer has been flagged several times, said Capt. Susan Blaine, who oversees internal affairs.
In a June case, Emmer reportedly punched a drunken man, Richard McPeek, twice while arresting him for disorderly conduct.
"It is difficult to understand why it was necessary to hit Mr. McPeek twice in the face when the only charges on Mr. McPeek are public intoxication," writes Blaine. "I also find it questionable as to why Officer Emmer felt he had to immediately punch Mr. McPeek twice in the face when there were three other officers right there with him. It seems four officers should have been able to arrest one extremely intoxicated individual."
Investigators ultimately decided there wasn't enough evidence to rule either way in the complaint, according to the report, but Emmer's arrest report and use of force report showed inconsistencies.
"I am concerned about the number of use of force reports but only monitoring it at this time," one supervisor writes in an evaluation dated April 2011.
Emmer could not be reached for comment Monday.
He worked in the downtown area during the midnight shift, where he routinely answered calls at bars where people sometimes resisted arrest. Officers who work in areas that average higher numbers of arrests and response calls often have more incidents on their records, said police Chief Bobby Dodd.
In July, Emmer responded to the Salvation Army on McCallie Avenue after a federal inmate, Adam Tatum, was kicking the door of an office at the facility. Federal inmates are sometimes housed at Salvation Army.
Tatum was armed with a knife, and Officers Emmer and Adam Cooley were among the officers who responded. An arrest report states the officers were "in fear for their lives after Mr. Tatum was not feeling any pain."
By the time Tatum was taken into custody, he had suffered severe injuries to his legs, including a compound fracture, said his defense attorney, Robin Flores.
Cooley, who is described as a model officer in reviews, was also let go last week after administrators reviewed the video of the arrest.
"This decision I made wasn't to demonize the officers," said Dodd. "I don't know them personally. I'm told they're good people by all accounts. It's not about them personally. It's about what they did that day in that one incident. Sometimes there are things so bad you can't continue to be a police officer."
Tatum was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, five counts of assault and possession of marijuana. He is serving a consecutive 11-month 29-day sentence for the assault charges in Silverdale Detention Facility, said Flores, who said he plans to appeal the case.
"When [the department] does take proactive action, it's when the evidence is overwhelming," said Flores, who said the department does not routinely take enough action against officers.
Since November 2010, there have been 45 incidents of excessive force investigated by the Chattanooga Police Department. Of those, three cases remain open, including Tatum's. Two complaints were found to be sustained, but a vast majority of officers are exonerated, which means the department found their actions were justified.
"The facts of the case are the facts of the case," Dodd said in response to Flores' accusation. "I'm not going to make up details to defend them or make up details to punish them."
After the incident at the Salvation Army, Blaine called a meeting in late August with the department's use-of-force expert and district supervisors to evaluate the pattern of complaints and review the video.
After Dodd observed the video, Emmer and Cooley were put on light duty and taken off patrol. Cooley had one prior complaint which was unfounded.
Cooley was credited with helping to close 807 Fire and Ice, a nightclub on Market Street that had numerous complaints of assaults last year. In his review of Cooley, a supervisor said he "is an outstanding officer who has a bright future at our department."
Cooley declined to comment Monday.
Dodd said neither officer had a bad record with the department but added that it was a unanimous decision to let the officers go.
"I can't release them back to the public and explain it," he said. "In my mind, it can't be justified."
The department has not released the video that captured Tatum's arrest or any reports because a third officer is being investigated and the FBI is reviewing the case for any potential criminal charges. When the investigation is wrapped up, the information will be made available, Dodd said.
"A surveillance video obtained by Channel 3 of a confrontation between Chattanooga Police and federal inmate Adam Tatum has prompted a news conference Thursday morning. The confrontation between Chattanooga Police and federal inmate Adam Tatum at the Salvation Army's halfway house last June that put Tatum in the hospital with broken bones and got Officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley fired for use of excessive force. Tatum's attorney, Robin Flores, obtained the video through court order from the Hamilton County District Attorney General's office. He's seeking to have Tatum's convictions thrown out, after Tatum pleaded guilty to assaulting the officers. "We counted at least 200 blows, 200 individual blows," says Tatum's attorney, Robin Flores. "They were dragging him by his broken leg."" - WRCBTV
An inmate residing of the Lewis County jail in Nashville, Tennessee was allegedly becoming unruly which is why the police beat him up and repeatedly tased him on video!
The inmate whose injuries included a punctured lung and multiple broken bones has been charged with extortion and false reporting after an investigation into threats he allegedly made against the Humphreys County sheriff!
The police can be seen beating the brakes off the inmate while he is yelling for mercy and one officer is tasing him repeatedly!’
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -A Lewis County inmate has been charged with extortion and false reporting after an investigation into threats she allegedly made against the Humphreys County sheriff.
Melissa Cotham, 38, of Linden, is jailed in Lewis County and awaiting extradition to Colorado on charges related to vehicle theft.
But a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report says Cotham wrote a letter to Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis stating she had a video of him beating Darrin Ring in the jail.
Cotham said she wanted his help with her situation, and if he did not comply, she threatened to release the video to the media.
She later admitted to fabricating the story about the video and said she got the video for the story after speaking with other inmates.
Dashboard camera footage of Humphreys County deputies beating Ring made national headlines last year, and allegations were later made that Ring was beaten again while in jail.
Ring, 34, had his bones broken, lung punctured, and had a Taser repeatedly used on him, even while handcuffed.
The TBI is currently investigating the allegations that Ring was beaten while in jail.
Humphreys County has placed a hold on Cotham’s extradition to Colorado until she can face the extortion and false reporting charges. Her total bond on the charges is set at $30,000.