Black people in Chattanooga live in fear of police.
There is a culture of intimidation among officers who believe that they can carelessly charge people on nonlegal pretexts to harass them and show them their place.
By David Tulis / Hot News Talk Radio
Such charges may seem trivial in the workaday world of the cop, but they bring untold trouble to working men and women in our city, especially people such as Hanson Melvin.
If perjury laced police reports are prosecuted as crimes in which there is a real victim, officers will exercise greater lenity upon the people and bring before the bar only the malevolent, wicked, violent and criminal.
Presumably the interest of the local state’s attorney, Neal Pinkston, is justice. But let’s say his interest is primarily something less — the state. Perjury by an officer damages the state itself because it abuses government in its judicial system; makes light of the requirements of its forms and paperwork; renders nugatory the officer’s oath before the judge; blights the state’s reputation among the people for surplus repression; and clogs the courts with defendants who are not evildoers.
However, I am willing to believe his interest is greater than just the state’s hallowed peace and dignity, its formulary proprieties and etiquette.
In a letter handed to Mr. Pinkston at a 10-minute meeting today, I ask him to consider for justice and equity that Mr. Melvin is an innocent Christian man being ground down by the system, starting with cops and continuing through the courts. His office prosecutes thousands of cases every year in which the state itself can show no harm, injury or damage and he takes up its grievances before grand and petit juries. The case I propose be prosecuted for justice’s sake has a real victim, a flesh and blood human being whose rights are protected in Tennessee’s oppression and perjury statutes — Hanson Melvin.
Does Officer Campbell need to be brought to bar? Does he deserve a fair trial on charges that he perjured himself under oath (dishonoring God’s name and his own office) and for violating the Tennessee oppression statute?
Nobody got shot in the Melvin case. Nobody was bloodied. Mr. Melvin’s is a boring ‘walking while nigger’ case.
Just as victimless crime cases are prosecuted to defend the idea of obedience to the state, so should the officer’s crime against the innocent be prosecuted — to defend the idea of obedience to all rules and limits that preserve constitutionally protected rights.
Tulis, Melvin ask DA to drop case, focus on cop fibs
Aug. 25, 2016
Dear Mr. Pinkston,
I’m writing to bring your attention to the police abuse case against Hanson C. Melvin, of 1664 Greendale Way Apartments, No. 414, in Chattanooga. At issue is perjury by a cop leading to the arrest of this innocent bystander who failed to make obeisance and who was harassed by a group of officers the moment he arrived home from jail.
Mr. Melvin was arrested on the basis of a perjured police report on May 29 on charges of disorderly conduct. He had a city court date June 14, and he waived the court.
The court hearing occurred on the day his wife, Tara, gave birth to the couple’s third child.
Mr. Melvin has filed a complaint with internal affairs and gave his testimony to Officer Jeff Gaines about his arrest.
The cop making false claims against Mr. Melvin on an official state government form is David Campbell. Mr. Campbell’s sworn statement says that Mr. Melvin’s resistance to being questioned caused him to complain about harassment and profiling, “drawing more people back outside of their apartments,” hence creating an instance of disorderly conduct.
Mr. Campbell goes on to swear, “police then detained Mr. Melvin and he began screaming more so. Police then placed Mr. Melvin in custody *** .”
Mr. Pinkston, I have interviewed a witness and talked in detail with Mr. Melvin about his arrest. Mr. Campbell’s sworn statement is a piece of badly written fiction with a cartoonish narrative thread.
Mr. Melvin’s affidavit makes clear that police were uneasy about the charges and arrest. Officers descended on him en masse after he was released from jail and told him he hadn’t been respectful, according to his affidavit.
Your perjury case against detective Rodney Burns in the Ooltewah rape case is against a man making legal analysis from the witness stand, an iffy case. The case before you is one of Officer Campbell, who has lied on a state form, under oath, on matters of material fact for which there are numerous witnesses.
The us-versus-them culture of police in which cops protect one another in a faithful brotherhood of blue may be prodded into a reversal by the kind of legal action I propose on behalf of Mr. Melvin.
Prosecution of this officer would clarify in the minds of every cop in the district the limits of police authority. Namely, the enforcement of statute and the bringing to justice common law crimes. Arrest and charging authority is not to be used for personal grudges, the officer having been offended or slighted, having been called a name or any number of other potential grievances which tempt cops to abuse their authority against innocent members of the walking and traveling public.