- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The city of Chattanooga has reached a settlement with two police officers fired after accusations of using excessive force when subduing an inmate.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1hqw9Jg) reports the City Council voted 6-3 on Tuesday to approve the settlement with Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley.

The city agreed to give the former officers back pay and $15,000 each in addition to pension contributions of $88,000 for both.

The officers won’t return to the force and agreed to drop a federal employment discrimination lawsuit against the city in which they sought $500,000.

The settlement ends a legal battle that began after the officers were called to a disturbance at the Salvation Army halfway house when inmate Adam Tatum brandished a knife at another inmate on June 14, 2012.

The newspaper reports officers used Mace and a Taser on Tatum and struck him more than 40 times with batons. His injuries included eight leg fractures, a broken nose and blackened eyes.

Police administrators determined that the officers used excessive force and they were fired in November.

During an administrative hearing this June, the officers argued that they should be reinstated because they followed their training and did not use excessive force in restraining Tatum.

City Council members were divided on the settlement, with Councilwoman Carol Berz and Councilmen Ken Smith and Chip Henderson voting no. Henderson and Berz said they thought the city should be responsible only for back pay and pension contributions.

“If they are going to be awarded additional money I feel like it should come from a judge and not the City Council,” Henderson said.

Bryan Hoss, who helped represent Emmer, called the settlement fair, noting that an administrative law judge ruled in favor of the officers and ordered them reinstated.

“These officers were completely vindicated by the administrative law judge’s decision. This settlement ensures this decision stands,” Hoss said. “These aren’t problematic officers. If anything it’s a training issue.”


Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com

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