CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
"We think cases should be tried in court and that's what we're going to do and that's the city's position," said Chattanooga assistant city attorney Keith Reisman, reacting after a U.S. Federal Magistrate rules against the city's position that attorneys involved in the lawsuit against former CPD detective Karl Fields should be barred from speaking to media about the case.
"I think all statements have been in compliance with the court's rule and we will continue to be in compliance with the court's rule and I think the judge did the right thing," said plaintiff's attorney Stuart James, who along with McCracken Poston represent a rape victim who is now suing the city over Fields' hiring.
The woman claims Fields romantically pursued her, and sexually assaulted her in the bathroom of the El Meson restaurant while he was investigating her rape complaint.
Fields was later fired after a CPD Internal Affairs investigation into the woman's claims. "There was a lot of press that I think people are thinking about now, that happened before the lawsuit," said Poston. "And that was in a sense to make sure the city handled this properly and that it wasn't swept under the rug."
Maybe the biggest oddity to this case was that attorneys representing both the accuser and the former officer agree that they shouldn't be barred from speaking to the press.
"This shows the public that even though Mr. Fields is on the exact opposite of where we are, that on legal points we can agree," said James.
U.S. Magistrate William Carter noted he found no violation from attorneys in the past proceedings that would require him to issue a gag order, but he did remind all litigants to follow the rules of Tennessee's Professional Conduct.
The lawsuit against Fields could be heard in the coming months.