Uproar in city over Mott ‘threat’ to heavily armed police chief

Karen Hall is happy to have won approval of her Airbnb in Chattanooga at a city council meeting Tuesday. Two other petitioners in contested cases also won virtually instant OKs. (Photo David Tulis)

Chattanooga police chief David Roddy is peeved that a tete-a-tete with a mayoral staffer is nosed into by a member of the press. (Photo David Tulis)

Marie Mott says she is being slandered by city council in a report that she “threatened” the police chief, David Roddy, in a meeting that included two city council members.

A private meeting between Marie Mott and Chattanooga police chief David Roddy was converted into a public meeting recently, with the attendance of city council members Anthony Byrd and Chip Henderson.

The level of anger expressed at that encounter is hotly debated at Chattanooga city council, with accusations flying about talk show host “threats” and “slander” by police brass against Marie Mott, an ardent talk show host fighting for justice and equity among city residents.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

The chief meeting had been requested by Miss Mott, a host at 92.7 FM NoogaRadio and an activist for police reform.

Comments spill over into an argument in the city council, with chairman Ken Smith demanding Miss Mott take to the microphone if she is going to say anything, and Mr. Henderson trying to deliver a rebuke to her that she declines to rise to receive.

It is a confusing exchange, but Miss Mott says that she has been slandered by rumors in Mayor Berke’s offices by the chief and that false statements are being made about her — that she made a threat of violence against Mr. Roddy.

The David Tulis show is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.

Mr. Henderson, a builder, asks Mrs. Mott to come to the microphone, because he has something to say to her. She refuses, and speaks up. Ken Smith, chairman, insists she go to the mic if she is going to speak in public.

She says the council “is participating in the slander of a person, and do you want to do this? *** Sir, I did not make any inflammatory statements. *** People have taken what I said out of context.” Sitting on row No. 2, she speaks.

She bounces to the podium, then back, pointing a finger several times at members of the council and yet insisting she has always treated its members respectfully. Expecting he might be questioned, Chief Roddy attends the meeting and sits in the back.

“I had a meeting with police chief Roddy,” says Miss Mott, 30, afterwards, “who is stating that I threatened him, that supposedly I threatened a man who has a gun, who has three extended clips filled with bullets, who has mace, who has a taser.

“I supposedly threatened him in a private meeting. [I said] that if he expects people to continue to be brutalized, if he expects people to continue to be trampled upon and oppressed, the natural expectation — the historical expectation — is that people are going to fight back, and eventually it’s going to lead to an officer losing their life or being brutalized, and I no way, shape, form nor fashion advocated for that, but I did state that I will not stand idly by” and watch people being hounded and harassed. “I will not stand by and be brutalized.”

Mr. Henderson says nothing at that meeting with the chief, Miss Mott says. He was there because he is head of the public safety committee and “he’s with the buddy-buddy system, and what he said tonight is that I threatened [Chief Roddy] and that is not what happened.” In an earlier Facebook post, Miss Mott says she is a “freedom fighter and a fighter of the people” willing to die to defend the life of an innocent person being beaten or slain by cops.

Miss Mott has been stirring the minds of city council members for some weeks, demanding an end to police violence, insisting that members of the public help create a police accountability group and ridiculing the city’s panhandling ban as ungodly. She also urges less specific changes in government that would favor less developers and the well-to-do, and people in poor districts more. She argues that there are “two Chattanoogas,” with city government ignoring the lower strata.

Miss Mott, hosts a show at 11 a.m. weekdays at the CBS and Sean Hannity radio affiliate in Chattanooga. She is an admixture of libertarian self-help on one hand (favoring constitutional limits, honest money and an end to surveillance police state) and mercy-oriented progressivism on the other (warmly endorsing taxpayer-funded charity programs and reforms in public school spending to give poor children a chance).

On Monday it was reported that Criminal Court Judge Don Poole is reopening post-conviction proceedings for Unjolee Moore, a life-sentence recipient in a Chattanooga Police Department case marked by a beating and abuse of process. Miss Mott has been active in noising abroad word about the injustice in that trial and conviction. A private investigator gave a reduced fee to Concerned Citizens for Justice and found enough exculpatory evidence in the records to convince Judge Poole to reopen the case.

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