Police

He Was Tased, Arrested and Totally Innocent. Now He's Suing.

The Chattanooga Police Department is at the center of another excessive force lawsuit.

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Nate Carter is bringing a $3 million lawsuit against the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, its police department, and the officer responsible for his tasing and wrongful arrest.

According to the complaint, the April 2018 incident began when police responded to a 911 call about a man threatening the caller with a gun. The caller described the suspect as a black man with short hair, who was heavy-set and wearing green and black pants.

The suspect had fled by the time police arrived. Instead, they saw Carter, who was wearing a purple t-shirt and black shorts. Officer Cody Thomas asked Carter to identify himself. Carter, who said he was checking his mail outside, responded that Thomas was not welcome to come to his house. The situation escalated with Thomas telling Carter, "How about you watch your mouth before your ass gets thrown in the back of my car."

Thomas pulled out a Taser and threatened to shoot Carter's "fucking dog," which was barking in the front yard. Carter attempted to go into his house, at which point Thomas shot Carter in the back with his taser, causing him to fall on his front porch. Carter managed to make his way inside, and Thomas called for backup. Carter then re-emerged from his home with his family while several officers, including Thomas, pointed guns and tasers toward Carter, his family, and his dog. After the family was out of the way, the officers moved to arrest Carter.

Body camera footage shows Carter's arrest.

(The arrest begins after 3:27)

Thomas later claimed that Carter was standing in the street and "bolted" prior to the incident. He charged Carter with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Those charges were thrown out by a judge in November and Carter is now suing.

This is not the first incident involving Officer Thomas. In February 2018, Thomas and other officers entered the home of Dale Edmonds after a neighbor told emergency services that someone was sitting in a black vehicle in Edmonds' driveway. The person in the vehicle was a Department of Child Services agent who was waiting while a second agent was meeting with Edmonds inside of the house. Though the agent explained to officers the purpose of their trip, Thomas and others entered the house through the backdoor without a warrant. The officers led Edmonds, his housemate, and the agent outside of the house at gunpoint, but not before Thomas "manhandled" Edmonds, who was recovering from a gunshot wound.

Robin Flores, an attorney and former police officer who works on police brutality cases, is representing Carter. Their suit argues that the city "has long-established patterns of overlooking or providing excuses and reasons to justify the misconduct of its officers." Flores told Reason that the complaint highlights how the city fails to "discipline and supervise" officers. The complaint lists other reports of bad policing by Chattanooga police dating back to 2003, including excessive force, lingering investigations, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment.

Flores told Reason that the Supreme Court has ruled that the language Carter used during his arrest is a form of protected speech. In 1974, the court ruled against a Louisiana statute that criminalized the use of obscene language while an officer is performing their duties. Justices argued that the law was too broad to fit within the legal definition of "fighting words" and had the potential to be abused in instances lacking a valid reason for an arrest.

Though Thomas' body camera was rolling during the incident, he turned his cruiser's dash camera off in violation of the department's policy. At one point, Thomas' hand covers his body camera. The complaint argues that this was done either in an attempt to turn it off or conceal his interaction with Carter.

Flores says that the footage available in both Carter's case and in the Edmonds case is "critical enough to bring a claim" against Thomas, the department, and the city. In other instances, footage has been enough to drop charges and reopen the cases of offending officers. He also mentions another case where he dismissed a suit after his client's version of events did not match the camera footage. This, he says, also protects police officers.

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30 responses to “He Was Tased, Arrested and Totally Innocent. Now He's Suing.

  1. Fuck tha these police.

    1. Hey Whats Your Problem? Sometime everyone make mistake. Be polite..!!

      Thanks & Regards

      AOL Mail Help Desk

  2. Enough of these lawsuits, and city governments will start petitioning against qualified immunity. I’m sure Chattanooga has lots of ideas about other ways they’d like to spend that $3 million.

    1. Don’t know about TN but IL local governments levy a tort immunity tax every year. If they run out of cash they just increase the levy. In theory they can’t spend it for anything except shit like this. And based on past practices the amount is pretty much limitless. So governments don’t suffer just the taxpayers.

      1. When people get tired of paying out money because their police force is abusing citizens, they’ll vote out the abusive morons and there will be regime change. People in a republic are responsible for the behavior of their government, don’t you think?

        1. They pretty well suck at taking that responsibility seriously….

          More likely they will simply cheer on their representatives as they impose limits on liability.

          1. Exactly. People don’t care about police abuse. Until it’s them or their kid. This behavior could be overhauled in a month if people would stop licking cops’ boots every time they sauntered by.

  3. Ha ha ha… an ex-cop literate enough to graduate from law school now defends the individual rights union-protected simians violate. How karmic!

    1. Sounds like a guy that witnessed this kind of abuse from the inside and has the balls and brains to do something about it.

      Too bad there aren’t more like him.

      1. Sounds more like one type of parasite converting to another….but what can you really expect from anything related to law?

  4. What did the city have to say for itself? How did the department explain away the unprofessional and seemingly criminal conduct of its employees?

    1. By calling residents of Chattanooga subjects instead of citizens?

      1. A CPD spokesperson says internal affairs conducted an investigation, resulting in Officer Thomas’ suspension for 80 hours in November of 2018.

        Sounds like an admission of wrongdoing.

        1. doesn’t say paid/not paid? likely two-week vacation

    2. He was lippy and therfore had it coming…(it’s what they think anyway)

      1. It’s part of the training.

        “…differential arrest rates by race reflect racial differences in disrespect shown toward the police …”

    3. Henry County AL isn’t aware of the arcane and exotic piece of legal mumbo jumbo called the 5th Amendment.
      Passengers are not legally obliged to indentify themselves during a traffic stop.

      When I called the sheriff’s office they informed me I didn’t know the law and all their officers always act professionally and then hung up.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4SCehCHZto

  5. I guess officer Cartman had a problem with someone not respecting his authority.

  6. So apparently the only good news today is BUCS being confirmed and eventually finding himself a nice Catholic wife to have nine kids with. Everything else has been a nut punch

    1. Not everything: what about the creepy porn lawyer’s indictment?

      1. A distraction

  7. So, shooting someone’s dog has become a meme on both sides of the thin blue line. Good to know.

  8. If he didn’t want to be hassled, why was he being black outside?

    As Doc Holiday would say “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”?

  9. And we wonder why people don’t cry when cops are shot in the head. Until the “good” cops start doing something about the scumbag cops, then nobody’s going to care what happens to them except for The booth lickers. This cop has no value as a human being and should not be on earth. I hope he gets shot and killed soon Before an innocent person is murdered by this man.

    1. The parody actually has a point.

      It’s this sort of behavior, and other cops enabling it, that makes folks very unsympathetic to the police.

  10. “Though Thomas’ body camera was rolling during the incident, he turned his cruiser’s dash camera off in violation of the department’s policy. ”

    Should be taken as prima facie evidence of criminal intent.

  11. I feel like the only time anyone gets a lawyer to help them with wrongful arrest or police brutality is if they are black or rich. No one wants to help lower middle class white girls and guys. I can attest to this with my misdemeanor “resisting arrest” for asking why I was being harassed while waiting outside of a store for a friend. I was told I watch too much tv, have no rights, and that asking them their business is disorderly conduct. My lawyer told me there was no way to win against the police and to just take the plea. It has haunted me for 15 years. No body cams being used then. Still don’t see much progress…

    1. Grow a pair. A lawyer told me I could never beat the SEC in court, so I didn’t hire him and defended myself instead. And won.

  12. Seriously, threatening to shoot the dog. Again. At what point do we get to return for when they threaten the family dog?

  13. All cops deserve it when shit in their fucking faces

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