CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
For the past year, politicians have told us the VRI is designed to help gang members straighten up their lives. Local law enforcement officials have said it's working. A gang member gives Channel 3 a closer look at the tension between the two sides.
Before his encounter with police, we hear him on cell phone video calling CPD officers a derogatory name. Officials believe he was trying create a problem for the officers who were arresting someone else.
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."
Nitorius Cooley contacted Channel 3, he wanted to share cell phone video he took Sunday in front of East Lake Courts. The video shows officers escorting him off of the sidewalk for questioning.
"I ain' stopping man... you ain't have no probable cause to stop me," said Cooley in the video.
Chief Fred Fletcher identifies Cooley as a known gang member. He tells us officers detained him for safety reasons. He says Cooley was walking by, trying to interact with another suspect already in custody.
"I've seen the video it appears this person is trying to get a response from law enforcement," said Chief Fred Fletcher. "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. Cooley tells Channel 3 he works a full time job and is trying to turn his life around.
"I already got a job... I'm being a family man and they trying to bring that down," said Cooley. "I ain't trying to go to jail."
Cooley was not charged with any crime, police searched him and then let him go.
"I feel unsafe out here," said Cooley. "I live out here and I don't even want to be outside anymore."
Channel 3 asked Chief Fletcher about how police interact with gang members on the streets.
"If you are involved in a gang that murders someone in our community, or is one of the most violent gangs in our community...you will be held accountable for your actions," said Chief Fletcher. "If you are a gang member or in an active gang, we owe it to our community to tell them they are at risk. It's what we do, it's what our officers do everyday to send that message. We will help you if you let us, we will stop you if you make us."
Chief Fletcher says no official complaints have been filed regarding this incident.
Saturday, January 20 2018 7:36 AM EST2018-01-20 12:36:57 GMT
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