Tennessee Man Injured by Police Files $50M Lawsuit

January 19, 2013

A man who received multiple injuries while being arrested by two former Chattanooga, Tenn., city police officers has filed a $50 million lawsuit.

Attorney Robin Flores told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the lobby floor at the Salvation Army building was bloody after his client, Adam Tatum, was arrested on June 14.

“That floor was covered,” Flores said. “It was like someone took a ketchup bottle and shook it around and sprayed it.”

The lawsuit names as defendants the two former officers, three current officers, 11 unidentified police officers, the city and Erlanger Health Systems.

Tatum, 37, sustained six fractures of his right leg and two fractures of his left leg, one of them compound, while being arrested at the center where former federal inmates are housed. Police said they arrived to find him kicking at a door.

Responding Chattanooga Police Officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer were later dismissed from the department for violation of policy, but a Hamilton County grand jury declined to indict them in the beating of Tatum.

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is pending and a federal investigation is being conducted.

Tatum is now an inmate at Silverdale Correctional Facility, where he uses a cane to walk, Flores said.

Flores said he studied a surveillance video of the incident for three hours before drafting the complaint.

He said he offered the city a $350,000 settlement on behalf of his client before filing the lawsuit.

“We didn’t receive a response,” he said.

The complaint states Smith and Emmer struck Tatum more than 100 times each, including more than 15 blows to the face and head.

“And it continued. That beating went on for at least 10 minutes,” Flores said. “What I thought was worse was they made this guy walk with an obvious fracture and bone sticking out of his leg.”

The attorney said the other officers and the hospital staff are named in the lawsuit because they did nothing to aid Tatum after he was in custody.

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