Inmate seeks to undue plea deal in ‘excessive force’ incident

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) — A former federal inmate has thrown his first legal punch, figuratively,  back at the Hamilton County District Attorney General, and two former Chattanooga Police officers who were fired for using ‘excessive force’ while arresting him.

“During the prosecution of this matter in the Court of General Sessions, the assistant district attorney (ADA) failed to disclose the extent of the video evidence to plaintiff (Tatum) and the plaintiff’s then-attorney,” Tatum’s attorney, Robin Flores, writes in his Petition.

Flores asserts that Tatum’s then-defender believed the state was hiding critical evidence, but that Tennessee’s Rules of Criminal Procedure prevented him from obtaining the evidence that would have confirmed or refuted that.

“(Tatum’s original defender) did not see all of the videotape, which we believe shows the officers inflicting the horrific injuries that put him in the hospital, and that got those officers fired for excessive force, “Flores tells Channel 3.

“Thus, he couldn’t advise Mr. Tatum what do to.”

Chattanooga Police and the Federal Bureau of Prisons have declined to make the surveillance video public, on grounds that their investigations remain open.  Police are trying to determine whether a third officer should face discipline.

Incident reports from the CPD and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) , and Flores’ petition name a third officer. But neither CPD or the BOP will confirm whether that officer is the officer whose actions they’re scrutinizing.

Citing precedent in several federal cases, Flores’ Petition asks Hamilton County Criminal Court for an evidentiary hearing, and to throw out Tatum’s plea deal and conviction on grounds that the deal violates Tatum’s due process rights.


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