UTC criminal law professor talks about Tatum beating - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UTC criminal law professor talks about Tatum beating

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Everyone has an opinion and the "how to" on handling situations like the beating of Adam Tatum. Situations like these can have a gray area. But as Dr. Roger Thompson with UTC said, these two officers clearly ventured out of the gray area.

"Immediate reaction: Rodney King and what happened in LA," said Thompson.

UTC criminal justice professor Dr. Roger Thompson was disturbed when watching the video Channel 3 showed you first Wednesday night.

Dr. Thompson said, "I thought we were past this, and I thought we learned some lessons."

Both Chattanooga officers involved were fired.

Dr. Thompson questions why it had to come to this, asking weren't there chances for the officers to put Adam Tatum in cuffs thus ending the situation?

"He's sitting there at times almost in the fetal position and he's not putting direct threat on the officers," said Dr. Thompson.

Those words were partially echoed by Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd.

"He tries to flea at one point, he runs into a dead end, officers bring him to the ground, they drag him back into camera range and from that point Mr. Tatum did nothing other than plea with him to stop hitting him," said Chief Dodd.

Chief Dodd said after they pulled him back into camera frame it became excessive and abusive, he counted 48 strikes with the baton.

Dr. Thompson said the public deserved to see this, but in some cases it will leave a lasting impression that the police department doesn't want.

"This makes a mental imprint and image, don't tell me the police are here to help, look how they handle business," said Dr. Thompson.

He also said the police department will need to use this for educational purposes.

He said it all starts with training.

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