Tatum pleads guilty to one assault charge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tatum pleads guilty to one assault charge

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The aggravated assault charges against the man beaten by two Chattanooga Police officers have been dismissed.

Monday, Adam Tatum pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. He has already served the six months required.

Tatum still has to serve 55 days for a separate armed robbery charge.

His attorney says the dropped charges makes his multi-million dollar federal lawsuit against the city, the police department and Erlanger, even stronger.

Channel 3 first showed you video taken from the Chattanooga Salvation Army's federal halfway house last June. It shows Chattanooga Police officers striking Adam Tatum with batons dozens of times, breaking his leg in multiple places.

The officers lost their jobs.

Tatum is suing them, the CPD, and the city for $50 million. His attorney then turned the fight to dropping Tatum's assault charges.

"In essence, he's done with the state charges," says Robin Flores, Tatum's attorney.

Flores filed a post-conviction petition and the judge approved it.

Both Flores and the District Attorney's office agreed, Tatum was not fully aware of who he was pleading guilty to assaulting.

"It's the correct decision when you review all the evidence," says Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston.

Pinkston says there were other technicalities as well. Tatum never signed the appropriate waiver after his original plea and there was no way to review how he answered to the charges.

"In Sessions Court, we don't have a court reporter; we don't have a full audio recording of his plea," says Pinkston.

With the approved petition, Tatum's case went back before a Sessions Court judge, where he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, with credit for time served.

"He was teary eyed. Very happy," says Flores.

With the state charges dropped, Flores says Tatum's federal lawsuit is even stronger.

"If you've already got a conviction or plead to it in state court to resisting or whatever, then you just shot yourself in the foot in federal court," says Flores.

There were also accusations the District Attorney's Office was withholding that video evidence but both sides came to terms that was not true.

It is not clear if the time Tatum has served so far will impact his federal sentence. 

In the meantime, officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley, the two officers fired, are fighting to get their jobs back.

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