Chattanooga, TN -- As the Free Thought Project often asserts, being entirely innocent is no defense against bad cops who couldn't care less about upholding the law or justice. A recent lawsuit over a case out of Chattanooga, in which an innocent man was tasered, beaten, and falsely arrested, illustrates this point quite accurately.
Nate Carter had done nothing wrong, had harmed no one, was not suspected of a crime, and was merely getting his mail last April when he was shot in the back with a taser and falsely arrested. The cop who did this to him knew he had an innocent man, but still moved oppress him.
On April 13, 2018, Chattanooga police officer Cody Thomas was responding to a call of a man allegedly waiving around a gun.
"Uh yeah, can you send an officer to 2108 Vance Avenue? It's a guy out here with a gun threatening to shoot me," the 911 caller said, describing the man as wearing a "Polo."
"He's wearing green and black pants. He's out front now," the caller told the dispatcher.
Officer Thomas apparently thought he was looking for a man named "Polo" not a man in a "Polo." So, he ran up to the first person he saw, Carter, in spite of the fact that Carter did not match the description at all.
"Are you Polo? What's your name?" Officer Thomas asked Carter.
"Don't be coming to my house that's over there. Go on over there," Carter responded.
"They calling about you?" the officer asked Carter.
"Not calling about me. Not me," he responded before trying to go back inside his house.
"How about you watch your mouth before your a** gets thrown in the back of my car," the officer said.
From here, after the officer becomes aggressive, the exchange proceeded to escalate.
"I don't have have to listen to you," Carter shouted at the officer, stating the truth.
"No, get your a** over here. You're now a part of this. Come here right now. I'll shoot your f***ing dog," Thomas shouted back.
"Shoot my dogs? You can't come in my yard!" Carter said.
As Carter tried to walk into his home, Thomas pulled out his taser and shot the innocent man in the back. He then pulled out his gun and assaulted Carter with a deadly weapon.
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"I was checking my mailbox. What are you putting me on the ground for?" Carter questioned.
During the arrest Thomas grinding Carter's head into the ground as he kidnaps this innocent man.
Thomas then went on to falsely report that the caller said Carter was the person, this was in spite of the fact that the video showed the caller tell him Carter was not the person.
"You're the one who called, correct? Was this about him?" Officer Thomas asked the neighbor.
"Na, na, it was about another guy, but he ran through the yard," the neighbor replied.
After Thomas called for backup, he would brag to one of the officers that he "just popped his taser cherry."
Despite Carter not fitting the description at all of the actual suspect, Thomas would fail to put any information about why he approached Carter in his report.
After Carter was tasered, attacked, and thrown in the back of the police car, Thomas' fellow officers ask him what he's charging Carter with. Thomas replies by stating he is charging him with "resisting arrest and disorderly conduct."
After he makes up those random charges, he then asks his fellow cops "and if you guys can help me make up anything else?"
A true public servant, indeed.
After Carter was brought to jail and the facts of the case came out, all charges were dropped against him. Now he is suing.
"You had a police officer come out to the scene and misidentify somebody, who didn't like the way that citizen talked to him--didn't like it and got angry," Carter's attorney Robin Flores who is now representing Carter in a federal lawsuit.
For tasering an innocent man in the back, falsely charging him, lying about it, threatening to kill his dog, and asking for help making up charges against him, officer Thomas received a slap on the wrist. Even the department found that he did all these things, but still, nearly nothing happened to Thomas.
According to ABC9, CPD Asst. Chief Glen Scruggs said in a case summary that he found Officer Thomas...
- Used force outside of the department's standard guidelines
- Submitted official reports that contained false and misleading information
- Showed willful indifference to complaints of a prisoner
- Displayed behavior and used language during his interaction with citizens that was unnecessary and unprofessional
For all these violations, officer Thomas received a two week vacation and then went right back to regular duty. Thomas has been on the department since 2016. Rest assured that by 2026, he will have cost the department millions in lawsuits from incidents just like this one.