Red Bank to settle with former Police Chief for $225K - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Red Bank to settle with former Police Chief for $225K

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The Red Bank City Commission moved Tuesday night to end a years-long battle with a former Police Chief. In a controversial play in July of 2010, Larry Sneed was sacked as the city's top cop. He went on to sue for $1.5 million dollars. The case has bounced around through the years. "Which is a test to it's complexity and to the inherent risks of continuing to go forward," said Long-time City Attorney Arnold Stulce, Jr.. "During that period of time, we've had a complete turnover of the members of the board of commissioners in the city of Red Bank. We've had a key witness, the late Mayor Millard, has passed away. We have key witnesses who live in Alaska, and the matter has been up to the state supreme court at one time."

Commissioners voted unanimously to accept a settlement offer from Sneed and his attorneys. Red Bank will pay $152,500 of the $225,000 settlement, insurance will pay the rest. "It admits no liability," explained Stulce. "It is a mechanism for buying our peace. It is a common way that lawsuits are dealt with in this context."

Also a part of the settlement, with the payoff, this suit and other related lawsuits will end. "When this lawsuit was filed, the city was facing in excess of $15 million of lawsuits from various sources, several of which included issues related to the police department in this particular thing," Stulce said. "If this matter is concluded tonight, that in excess of $15 million original exposure well have been concluded for less than $400,000 between trials and settling the matters going forward."

Stulce went on to say, if the case made it to trial and the city lost, taxpayers would likely be on the hook for the entire verdict amount plus attorney fees incurred by Sneed.

After the city attorney advised the five commissioners to accept the offer, Mayor John Roberts agreed. "He knows what he's talking about," said the mayor. "As much progress as the city's made in the last five years from economic development, to residential development, to rezoning ordinances to plan for the future of this city, this is part of the stuff that we just really need to move on past. We've made great strides in the city the last five years. I'm going to keep going forward and we're going to keep pushing strong. There's no doubt about it."

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