Cop-abused business law sparks Red Bank execution of woman

The Red Bank police department uses cruisers like this to chase down private users of the road under the state’s commercial transportation law. (Photo David Tulis)

A police chase and slaying of Donna Lynn Allen, 39, in Soddy-Daisy Tuesday highlights the dangers of police departments using business laws to harass non-business users of the public highway.

A first statement by the TBI on indicates that the broadly misused Title 55 was used as a source of probable cause late Tuesday to stop a woman in a car that had violated one of the rules of the road regulating transportation.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

The failure to yield being a cause, the officer in Red Bank gave chase and the woman traveler, with a male passenger, attempted to elude further encounter and arrest and stop.

Red Bank police, Soddy-Daisy police and sheriff’s deputies pursed the car onto Burchard Road in Soddy-Daisy Road and into a wood. A Red Bank officer, in an initial claim, says he was struck by the car. That prompted him to fire a barrage into the car to kill the occupants under protection of the Tennessee police use of force exemption at TCA 39-11-620.

License to kill

Under the use of force exemption, a cop “may use deadly force to effect an arrest only if all other reasonable means of apprehension have been exhausted or are unavailable, and where feasible, the officer has given notice of the officer’s identity as such and given a warning that deadly force may be used unless resistance or flight ceases.”

The officer in court will try to show that he either believed his target  “committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury” or that the woman “pose[d] a threat of serious bodily injury, either to the officer or to others unless immediately apprehended.”

The officer in his initial claim says he was struck by the vehicle. This claim allows him to fire lethal rounds from his service weapon into the cabin of the car, mortally one human being and seriously injuring another.

The man, identified in the TBI release as a “passenger” (commercial terminology) is struggling for life at Erlanger Medical Center in Hamilton County, according to a newspaper report.

Commercial law as basis for arrest

It is certain that the towns will defend their actions under Title 55 as a good-faith consequence from routine enforcement activities. No lawyer will bring it up as a point of controversy.

The corporations will defend their officers on the grounds that they are unaware of the scope of Title 55, Title 65 in Tennessee code annotated and also U.S. Code 49, the federal transportation code which regulates confirms the narrow business scope of the Tennessee law.

If the car did not have a USDOT number on the door as required of commercial vehicles, and if the officers gathered no evidence of business activity (manifest, contract) — then the victims of the police shooting arguably are private users of the road exercising their liberty and freedom under the Tennessee constitution.

However, if there is evidence that the use of the car that night was for commercial purpose, the police have at least some defense of their activities as commercial enforcers.

Title 55 allows LIMITED use of police power

Tennessee law authorizes the use of police power in the public interest along the highways when the person in the car, truck or motorcycle is involved in a regulable commercial activity.

Transportation administrative Notice is ready to go

That is because since the very beginning of self-propulsion, state governments and municipalities have taken an interest in public safety and the need to regulate parties involved in for-hire use, whether drays hauling coal or chuffing cars hauling lumber or top-hatted passengers on the way home from the fairground.

Neither Red Bank nor Soddy-Daisy have been served transportation administrative notice, which would deny them or their officers the good faith defense of what is otherwise a violent and oppressive act.

They are free, thanks to members of the bar all giving these cities a pass, to argue good faith use of Title 55. By definition, ignoring a law in a pretended act of law enforcement is official oppression, a felony.

However, Sheriff Jim Hammond is under administrative notice about the nature and scope of Title 55 and USC 49, the federal law.

Notice to Hammond: Reform required even though Haslam, judges, legislators opposed

In early March I gave him personally a copy of the notice, a 20-page rehearsal of definitions, statutes and court cases showing the power of the state to enforce transportation rules — and also its limits.  

Officers’ skin in game

Other corporations under TAN are city of Chattanooga, city of East Ridge, and city of Dayton. I have also given notice to DA Neal Pinkston and Gov. Bill Haslam.

The notice puts the squeeze on officers, and allows them to be sued personally for oppressive acts. The focus of the reform is upon the office, who is effectively suspended between contradictory claims about what is the actual law in Tennessee.

The law in Tennessee is in a state of contradiction because of an activist judiciary. The statute and case law are clear about the limits of the transportation code.

But the Tennessee high court, in complicity with the executive branch and legislative branch, holds that travel does not exist apart from the single act of changing one’s domicile from one state to another. Apart from that, travel does not exist. This premise is a legal fiction and is contradicted plainly by many court cases and the statute itself, as indicated in transportation administrative notice.

The judiciary acts (denying appeal from mid-level court of appeal) in complicity with the executive branch and legislative branch, holds that travel does not exist apart from the single act of changing one’s domicile from one state to another.

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