UPDATE: Judge's order says CPD officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley should be reinstated
There are new developments in the high profile case involving two Chattanooga Police officers fired for using excessive force. A judge says they should get their jobs back.
Officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley were fired in November of last year, after video surfaced of the officers using excessive force against halfway house inmate, Adam Tatum. Channel 3 obtained a copy of the video from June 2012. In it, officers Emmer and Cooley are seen beating Tatum, who suffered two broken legs in the scuffle. He was also punched in the head and maced. The officers say Tatum was high on cocaine, and was resisting arrest.
Emmer and Cooley's case went before a grand jury, but they were never indicted. Federal investigators also investigated the case, but never issued charges.However, Police Chief Bobby Dodd fired the officers for their actions.
The administrative law judge who heard the case issued a 30-page opinion on why former officers Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley should be rehired. The officers' attorneys welcomed the news but Adam Tatum's attorney and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke have strong opinions on the decision.
Sean Emmer and Adam Cooley testified in a hearing earlier this summer defending their actions against Adam Tatum. After fighting for their jobs, the judge in the case issued an opinion, stating the two former officers should rejoin the Chattanooga Police Department.
"I'm upset. The chief is upset," says Mayor Andy Berke.
Mayor Berke says he strongly disagrees with the judge's opinion. In the order, Judge Kim Summers says Emmer and Cooley's actions were warranted, writing, "Since both the taser and OC spray had been completely ineffective, the baton strikes were the only viable means of force still available to the officers."
"I am extremely disappointed by this ruling. Over the last several months I've talked to the police chief several times. He's expressed his condemnation of the misconduct in this case," says Berke.
"These officers followed their training. And they should be reinstated," says Bryan Hoss, Sean Emmer's attorney.
Bryan Hoss and Stevie Phillips represent Emmer. Jonathan Guthrie represents Cooley. All three attorneys say the officers were doing their jobs.
"They were doing nothing but protecting city of Chattanooga citizens when they came across someone on parole, who's high on crack, and armed with a knife, who's terrorizing people down at the Salvation Army," says Hoss.
"Apparently we were looking at different videos," says Robin Flores.
Flores is Adam Tatum's attorney. He is representing Tatum in a $50 million civil suit against the city and the police department.
"This doesn't really have any effect other than maybe in the public eye, that somehow, these guys were justified in it. But the public has seen the same video we have," says Flores.
"We don't tolerate misconduct in our police department," says Mayor Berke.
"The mayor has said he wants officers back out on the streets, we've got two right now who are ready to go," says Hoss.
The judge also says Emmer and Cooley should get back pay, benefits and their seniority back. The city has until October 9th to file an appeal to the order, which is an option it is considering.