UPDATE: Thursday, Channel 3 spoke with the man involved with a Chattanooga Police Department Internal Affairs investigation. A Chattanooga police officer was fired, accused of wrongly arresting Hanson Melvin. David Campbell was fired last week after a disciplinary hearing. The Chief cited harassment and a violation of department policy as the reason for his dismissal.
Hanson Melvin said he's known officer David Campbell for years. They grew up in the Chattanooga area around the same time. He says his goal was not to get the officer fired, but he hopes this case will shed light on the relationship between police and the community.
Hanson Melvin said he was walking to a store in May when Chattanooga Police Officer, David Campbell stopped him and asked him for his license. “I told him it was none of his business. I wasn't operating a vehicle. And he didn't have any probable cause to ask me any questions,” said Melvin.
Melvin said the officer then threw him against the car and started using inappropriate language. “Slammed my head against the car. It happened so quickly. It caused me to clench.”
Melvin then spent the next few hours in jail for disorderly conduct. A crime he says he didn't commit.
“I was treated like a criminal, like everyone else. I had to come up with money that I didn't have on me.”
That wasn't his last encounter with police. Shortly after being released from jail, Campbell and four other officers showed up at his home, saying a suspicious person was reported in the area matching his description. “I asked him what was going on. Why are you all harassing me? I just got out of jail. I just went to jail for something I did not do.”
Melvin reported the incident to the department and district attorney. A lengthy legal battle followed. The case was dismissed and expunged. Nine months later, Chief Fred Fletcher announced the dismissal of Officer Campbell, after an internal affairs investigation. “I'm paranoid now when I see police. It’s bad. Every time I see a police I think something is going to happen.”
Melvin said he hopes his experience and willingness to talk about it will help remind law enforcement of one thing, “Treat everybody fair. You are here trying to help people, not hurt them.”
Officer David Campbell plans to appeal his firing. For that reason, the police department could not comment on the case. We have tried to reach Officer Campbell for his side of the story and have not yet heard back.
Chattanooga Police Officer David Campbell was fired last week after a disciplinary hearing determined Campbell was in violation of the CPD's Code of Conduct (Harassment & Improper Arrest) and Motor Vehicle Use policies, according to a news release.
Chief Fred Fletcher made the decision after the hearing. Fletcher and Campbell's supervisors took part in the hearing.
Fletcher has not commented on his decision because of a pending appeal by the terminated officer.