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Wednesday August 10th, 2022 10:55AM

Two Two officers fired after excessive force complaints

By The Associated Press
<p>Two police officers have been fired and a third has been suspended after disciplinary hearings found they used excessive force in two instances, one involving two Georgia men.</p><p>In the first case, the department fired officers Stephen Miller and Daniel Gibbs, both with the department for two years, Police Chief Steve Parks said Thursday.</p><p>The two were accused in October of using chemical spray on a homeless man, 43-year-old Robert Williams, and dumping him out of a patrol car after Williams failed to leave a coin laundry.</p><p>During an internal investigation, officials found that both officers used too much force, did not file proper documentation and then lied about what happened.</p><p>"The public must rely on these officers to present the truth in everything they do," Parks said. "I take that very seriously."</p><p>In the second disciplinary action, the department placed Officer Ray Brantis on a 28-day unpaid administrative leave and one year probation. He also was suspended from his work as a field training officer for one year. Brantis, a six-year veteran, was truthful during the internal affairs probe, officials said.</p><p>Parks said there are complaints pending against other Chattanooga officers involved in that incident.</p><p>A camera, mounted inside a Georgia State Patrol car, recorded police shouting profanities at two Georgia men who claim that Brantis and other officers used excessive force.</p><p>The video shows police arresting Matthew T. Jones, 22, of Cohutta, Ga., and Jason A. McCollum, 26, of Dalton, Ga., at the conclusion of a Sept. 11 traffic pursuit that began in Georgia and ended in Chattanooga.</p><p>In the video, one officer can be seen hitting Jones in the face. Another officer is captured kicking McCollum.</p><p>Authorities recently dropped charges of resisting stop, disorderly conduct and public intoxication against McCollum, the passenger. Jones pleaded guilty to evading arrest, but charges of assaulting police and resisting stop were dismissed.</p><p>McCollum filed a $3.3 million federal lawsuit against the Georgia and Chattanooga authorities he claimed were involved in the alleged beating, court records show.</p><p>Todd Womack, spokesman for the mayor's office, said all disciplined officers have the opportunity to file an appeal before the City Council. He could not confirm whether any appeals hearings had been scheduled.</p><p>Regardless of future proceedings, Parks said, the right decisions have been made.</p><p>"I would not have made a decision that affected the lives of these police officers if I did not feel it was the right one," he said.</p><p>___</p><p>HASH(0x2864a14)</p>
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