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UPDATE: Suspended CPD officer's lawyer says why he's fighting back

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - UPDATE: Chattanooga Police Officer Alex Olson will go to court to fight his suspension in less than 90 days. Olson's lawyer tells Channel 3 how they're prepping for his case, and why Olson is appealing the police chief's decision.

Olson was suspended for 30 days without pay for using "improper use of force" after shooting at a suspect, but he says the punishment is too harsh.

"We'll be arguing that Officer Olson did not use excessive force," said attorney Stevie Phillips, "And we'll be arguing that the punishment is too harsh."
Olson is serving the maximum suspension allowed by the city.

During the October incident, Olson fired four shots at a car after it crashed into his police vehicle and was driving away.
In the internal affairs report Olson says he feared for his life. The report says, "I became afraid for my life and feared that if the suspect vehicle struck my patrol vehicle I could be struck as well and be injured or killed," Olson goes on to tell investigators, "I feared the assault would continue with the suspect vehicle again accelerating toward me."

"Even upon being assaulted, Officer Olson became aware that this was a violent criminal, who had just assaulted a uniform police officer," Phillips said, "And who is therefore a threat to other officers who were responding to the scene and the people in the community."
The suspect was later identified as 21-year-old Luster Deloney. He's facing a number of charges from the incident, including aggravated assault.

Olson is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, and the organization is paying for some of Olson's legal fees during the appeal.
The local chapter president supports his decision to get a second opinion.

"You'll see that police officers are supporting one of their own, not blindly, because most officers have seen the video," said Sean O'Brien, also a Chattanooga Police Officer, "They've been briefed on the findings in the internal affairs investigation."
O'Brien also believes all officers should have more than the annual one week in-service training on use of force.
But he hopes olson's case helps the public understand what it's like on patrol.

"The community, at large that we serve can understand how dynamic these situations are, how quickly they happen, in a matter of one or two seconds," O'Brien said, "And we have to live with those decisions we make for the rest of our lives."

Officer Olson says regardless of the court's decision on his appeal he plans to continue working as a Chattanooga police officer, saying he loves his job and serving the public.

In a statement to Channel 3, Chief Fletcher responds to Olson's appeal saying, "I stand by my decision, but I also support Officer Olson's appeal 100 percent under the officer's right to due process. We value Officer Olson in this department, and that is why he will be welcomed back when his suspension is over. We will provide any of the support that he needs to come back from this incident and be a safe, productive and healthy officer."

A hearing must be scheduled within 90 days of filing the appeal. An administrative law judge from Nashville will hear the case in Chattanooga. The hearing will be open to the public.

The hearing is run like a mini-trial, with evidence and witness testimony, and CPD has to follow the ruling or file their own appeal. Olson could receive back-pay if he wins the appeal.


UPDATE: A Chattanooga police officer suspended for 30 days without pay has filed an appeal with the city. Officer Alex Olson's attorney told Channel 3 Wednesday they sent a letter to the City Council Clerk, pursuant to City Code.

"An Administrative Law Judge will be assigned to the case," Stevie Phillips said. "We are entitled to a hearing within 90 days of filing the appeal."

ORIGINAL STORY: An officer involved in a shooting back in October of 2014 has been suspended without pay.

Chattanooga Chief of Police Fred Fletcher issued the suspension for CPD Officer Alex Olson Wednesday.

The incident began in the 3300 block of Windsor Court, where Olson was attempting a traffic stop and the suspect took off.

READ MORE | Officer opens fire on driver who rammed patrol car

After a short chase the suspect rammed the officer's car trying to get away, that's when the officer fired four shots at the suspect.

The officer was placed on administrative leave as per CPD policy.

After an investigation by Internal Affairs, the Administrative Review Committee and the officer's chain of command determined the officer displayed "Improper Use of Force - Discharge of Firearm"

"Officers make rapid, split-second decisions and we are committed to reviewing them in a reasonable manner," said Chief Fred Fletcher. "And holding ourselves accountable to the policy we set to keep ourselves and the public safe."

Olson has been suspended for 30 days without pay - the maximum suspension allowed by City of Chattanooga law.

Stevie Phillips, an attorney at Davis & Hoss, P.C. who is representing Olson, sent a statement to Channel 3 Thursday morning, saying "The decision to punish Officer Olson is not supported by federal law or policy."
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