TV 12 reports about a SWAT operation in which dozens of combat-armed police confront a man in a Chattanooga motel room who refuses to come out.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM
The rise of the warrior cop is highlighted in Chattanooga in an incident in which dozens of police — some helmeted and geared up for anti-terrorist operations — use force to get a motel resident to show himself and submit to questioning.
At least 20 police vehicles — including the county’s armored combat car — and dozens of officers were at the scene of the Super 8 motel in Ooltewah on Wednesday as a construction worker refused to come out of a room for which financial arrangements had been canceled among the Little Debbie plant contractors.
Fifteen officers from the county’s paramilitary unit, SWAT, hung about the parking lot and a nearby Waffle House restaurant as negotiations ran past two hours. A pair of cops crouched with rifle telescopes trained on the window and door of the room in which the man had locked himself.
The man from the Greenville, S.C., had made no threats to anyone and committed no violent acts. Reports do not indicate, even, that he had been seeking to hurt or kill himself.
A stray shell casing
But he had not been feeling well, had locked the door and reportedly barricaded it in what police said was “an emotional state.” Though no shots had been fired, a stray bullet casing had been found in the parking lot, and police escalated the situation into a combat scenario like those for a mall massacre or school “active shooter” event. At 4:20 p.m. police fired tear gas through a window and battering-rammed the door to lunge inside.
The 37-year-old man who was their target was seized, emerged shirtless with torn blue jeans, his wrists in handcuffs. To support the “disorderly conduct” call police blocked traffic at there at Exit 11 of Interstate 75 just north of Hamilton Place mall just as school was being let out.
“Our negotiators negotiated for quite some time,” says Eric Tucker, assistant Chattanooga police chief. “It became apparent that due to his condition that he was not going to come out.” TV12 called it a “nail-biting standoff” initiated by a Super 8 employee “who was worried about one of the [residents] in emotional distress.” No weapons had been seen, no threats had been made, but that no one knew for sure prompted the escalation, reports indicate.
“We finally deployed tactical,” the police officer says, “and was able to take him into custody.”
Jerome Patrick is an eyewitness and colleague of Josh, the man who was arrested. “Josh, you know when I leave the door, they’re going to come and get [you] out,” Patrick recounts.“ He wanted me to come into the room, but they wouldn’t let me go inside. *** He was just afraid.”
Josh was arrested, was taken to a hospital “to be checked out,” a TV report says, and will likely be charged with vandalism for damage to the room.
These events in Chattanooga are being replicated across the country. An incident which is at best a business dispute handled by a regular beat cop’s checking in with management every hour is escalated into the equivalent of a terror incident or a mass shooting. In an extreme exercise of caution, if you will, paramilitary operations are commenced on the slightest pretext (stray piece of brass in a motel parking lot).
A dispute becomes a standoff. Rifles are trained upon a citizen who has given no sign he is going to commit a crime, who at best may be committing a private tort or wrong either among his fellow contractor colleagues or the motel business.
Josh the defendant was so overawed and terrified that he refused even to see his father, whom apparently had been brought to the Super 8 as if he were about to slaughter hostages or detonate a remote bomb by cell phone.
“SWAT Units Force Way Into Room After Man Barricades Himself At Ooltewah Super 8 Motel For 3 Hours,” Dec. 16, 2015, Chattanoogan.com, http://www.chattanoogan.com/2015/12/16/314486/SWAT-Units-Force-Way-Into-Room-After.aspx
Valeria Sistrunk, “Person barricaded in at Super 8 Motel in Ooltewah,” Dec. 16, 2015, WDEF.com, http://www.wdef.com/news/story/UPDATE-Person-barricaded-in-at-Super-8-Motel-in/Rx8oCVpIxUa5x2cLlT6qog.cspx?rss=3457
Ken Nicholson, “SWAT call at Super 8 in Ooltewah ends peacefully,” Dec. 16, 2015, Wrcbtv.com, http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/30767955/police-and-swat-called-to-super-8-in-ooltewah