Citizens of the city of Chattanooga, TN gathered in front of City Hall on today to protest the reinstatement of two police officers caught of video brutally beating Adam Tatum. The officers Adam Cooley and Sean Emmer were fired following the beating in June 2012, but were reinstated following a judge's ruling on Thursday of last week. Today's protest was organized by Concerned Citizens for Justice (CCJ).
Janelle Jackson who is an organizer for CCJ said in a statement:
“Victims of police brutality in this city feel that a license has just been granted to Emmer and Cooley and the CPD to continue abusing community members with impunity.” She added, "We have to act quickly before this order becomes final on October 9."
Adam Tatum was an inmate living in a federal halfway house at the Salvation Army on McCallie Ave. at the time of the incident. Tatum has recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the City of Chattanooga as a result of the injuries inflicted upon him during the altercation.
The judge ruled that the officers were acting in accordance with their training therefore should be reinstated with full back pay. This decision brought sharp criticism for Mayor Andy Berke who strongly disagreed with the judge's decision. Berke said that he agreed with Police Chief Bobby Dodd's decision to fire the officers and would appeal the judge's order on Oct 10. That is the first day that such an appeal can be submitted due to the fact that the judge's order doesn't take effect until Oct. 9.
Mayor Berke said in a statement:
"We must maintain the trust of our community, and I will not allow the actions of a few to tarnish the good work of so many officers who do their jobs the right way everyday."