Lawsuit claims Chattanooga police officers racially profiled man
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Hamilton County Circuit Court alleges three Chattanooga Police Officers went beyond their duties to protect and serve, it claims they targeted a man because of his race.
"This case is one that involves way excessive force. It was beyond what is necessary," Attorney Robin Flores says.
Flores represents Steven Hacker, he says it all started in the early morning hours of July, 25 on Glass Street. "Mr. Hacker, at an intersection, 3 a.m. in the morning, talking to another black man," Flores explains.
Court documents claim officer Derek Roncin was in the area, became suspicious and followed Hacker to his home on Missionary Ridge. That's where officer Roncin demanded to speak to Hacker as more officers arrived, Hacker refused to speak to them.
"There's no reason given to Mr. Hacker by the officers as to why they want him to come out and talk to them," says Flores.
Flores claims the officers, including Cornelius Gaines and John Watkins, tried to enter the home without a warrant and when Hacker came into the doorway they tased him, causing him to fall through a plate glass window.
"They claim he had a knife, there was no knife recovered," Flores says.
Hacker had to have surgery for his injuries. "You don't just bully them around because you got the badge and you can do it," says Flores.
Flores says the officers then searched Hacker's vehicle without a warrant or permission where they found drug paraphernalia. Hacker does have a criminal history.
"That's all in hindsight ok, folks tend to use that and say hey look he's a criminal," says Flores, "They tried that with Adam Tatum."
The Chattanooga Police Department refused to comment. A member of the city attorney's office tells Channel 3 the lawsuit was served Wednesday. They'll investigate the allegations and decide whether or not to represent the officers named in the lawsuit. Pending litigation, they have no further comment.
At this time the officers named in the suit are still with the department.
Monday, August 21 2017 4:21 AM EDT2017-08-21 08:21:48 GMT
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