CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Tonight - a look at the city of Chattanooga's Violence Reduction Initiative - through the eyes of a gang member.
For more than a year, we've reported the city's number one goal: to reduce violent crime on Chattanooga streets. Nitorius Cooley shared a cell phone video with Channel 3, Monday. The video shoes an encounter he had with Chattanooga Police Sunday near East Lake Courts.
Cooley tells Channel 3 he felt the need to pull out his cell phone and record two police officers nearby. Dash cameras provided by CPD showed the two officers stopped in the middle of the road making an arrest. Cooley passed police on his way to the store, then passed again on his way back. Police say he muttered gang slang to the suspect in custody, prompting them to detain him. Cooley denies those allegations to Channel 3 and claims he was just walking home, when officers stopped him.
The cell phone video shows the officer grab his arm and accuse Cooley of being on housing property. Dash-cam video shows the officer then escort him from the sidewalk to the squad car. Cooley tells officers he has a "resident pass" in his pocket, however officers never asked to see it. Instead, they took his phone and laid it on the hood.
Officer: " Here is what's going on... there is an enforcement action against GDs and your associated with them, that's why your being talked to."
Cooley: "I don't care about that... I work, I got a son and I've got family."
GD stands for Gangster Disciples. Chief Fred Fletcher says Cooley is a known member of GDs and was yelling things while they tried to make another arrest.
"I've seen the video, it appears this person is trying to get a response from law enforcement," said Chief Fred Fletcher, Chattanooga Police Dept. "It appears officers were trying to behave in a manner to keep everybody safe."
Cooley is no stranger to police, Channel 3 uncovered a criminal past including: disorderly conduct, trespassing and assault. He says he's trying to turn his life around.
"I already got a job... I'm being a family man and they're trying to bring that down," said Cooley. "I ain't trying to go to jail."
On the cell phone video, we hear Cooley say over and over he is not an active gang member. At one point in the dash-cam video, Cooley does in fact admit he is a Gangster Disciple. Police remind him they're not on the same side.
Officer: "This is not personal, it's business and it's that simple. You're a G, you're a gangster and I'm the police... we will always butt heads."
Cooley tells Channel 3, "I feel unsafe out here....I live out here and I don't even want to be outside anymore."
Police say Cooley was never charged with a crime and he was never put in any handcuffs.
Channel 3 looked up Cooley's records and found out he was arrested by Chattanooga police 11 days ago for disorderly conduct. The affidavit states he became too loud when they were patting him down inside of the East Lake Courts housing project. Cooley's record only shows one other trespassing charge. filed last year. CPD noted in their 2014 report that Cooley was a known gang member with a violent history. That report said he was on the criminal trespassing list for an assault back in 2012.
Saturday, January 20 2018 10:29 PM EST2018-01-21 03:29:09 GMT
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