Chattanooga has been under transportation administrative notice two years today, and its city council continues to allow for abuse of the people’s rights and legal peril for city employees that the notice is intended to end or to rectify.
Its indifference to reform is reflected in a pattern of disregard for police abuse, its members’ willingness to be titillated by a police horror story — Avery Gray being allowed to speak 20 minutes about the arrest in 2018 of her daughter Kennedy — but its reluctance to use its purse strings powers to press for pacification of Mayor Berke’s department.
The notice requires the corporation to respect the federal and state transportation statutes which effectively forbid the operation of Jim Crow and acts of violence and arrest by city employees under guise of regulating transportation.
The council’s 9 members are either dismissive of this effort to warn the city of abuse or are unable to get back with me before deadline.
The most approachable member of city council is Darrin Ledford, who responded to my email requesting comment.
“I think it’s always important to look into issues presented to council. I met with Mr. Tulis in person about his claims on Title 55 and although I didn’t agree with him, I am interested in continuing my education on the issue he presented.”
He had asked for time to study the matter before replying, but indicated he couldn’t get to it on account of a heavy legislative effort touching on steep slopes regulation
A second city council member, Anthony Byrd, indicates he is open to the arguments and is willing to discuss the claims of the notice upon the city and its ostensible benefit for African-Americans and the poor. But he says he’s been advised the notice is erroneous.
“I just want to see the facts,” Mr. Byrd says. “If your interpretation is true, we need to change some things. And if it’s wrong, someone needs to explain it to you and let you know, ‘Hey, this interpretation that you’re having is wrong.’”
Erskine Oglesby is third in his willilngness to comment. In a brief conversation after a council meeting Tuesday he says he would like time to look at the matter before commenting, but he does not get back in time to be included in this story.
Members refuse comment
Others on city council are fleet of foot and unwilling to say anything.
➤ At the regular public meeting Tuesday I call after Jerry Mitchell who steps through the door so quickly he cannot hear me ask him for comment. He does not reply to my email query nor a phone message. City government has authority to regulate for hire uses of city streets such as cabs. Mr. Mitchell oversees a council transportation committee.
➤ Ken Smith, wrapping up his papers after city council meeting Tuesday, refuses to comment; dealing with me is beneath his dignity and honor.
➤ Russell Gilbert, whom I approach Feb. 11 with my radio microphone, makes a sign of zipping his lips and will not utter a word.
➤ Carol Berz also refuses comment on the reform. She is a doctor of jurisprudence and works as a mediator.
Asked for comment about transportation administrative notice — a labor of racial reparations and racial reconciliation — she chides, “I know where you’re going. Dave. Absolutely not. Sorry, love.”
➤ Demetrus Coonrod flatly refuses to make a comment, either to email or a personal encounter.
➤ Chip Henderson delegates responsibility for administrative notice and discussion about to the city attorney.
“Well, anytime we’re given notice in a legal matter, I always defer to the city attorney, and let him take care of legal matters. I’m not a lawyer.”
I press on in my inquiry: “Well, the point of the notice though, is that city council members have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that the mayor’s department of police does not offend the rights of the people and operate strictly within the scope of the law.”
Mr. Henderson stands firm: “Well, here again, that would be in the realm of the city attorney to take care of that. So I would just tell you to direct all questions to him at this point.”
In an earlier interview he raises objections to the idea of liberty on the road, because people might be injured. The use of city police power to stop people at will and without a warrant would be limited, and this prospect makes him uneasy.
Notice sponsor says too little
City attorney Phil Noblett says that nothing has been done regarding transportation administrative notice because this reporter has not supplied him with further information following a meeting in November 2018.
“At this point, Mr. Tulis, nothing has been done in that regard because we met with you and talked with you at that point in time and did not come back and see us with any additional information based upon the information we gave you at that point. I believe we gave you case law at that point in time asserting that the police department here in Chattanooga does have the power to enforce speed limit laws in this area. And that’s what I remember from that meeting.”
“I think the city will enforce those laws until those laws are determined to be unconstitutional by some court here in Tennessee which we have not seen at this point.”
Why no response to notice under the legal rules for notice? “Because you did not come back and talk with us, Mr. Tulis, and you said you were going to bring us some more stuff.”
It’s the preparer’s fault for not saying enough, not citing enough cases, not giving enough analysis in two press platforms to which Mr. Noblett pays scant attention (he mispronounces my name, a clue he is maybe a mere reader, if that). Mr. Noblett suggests that I am arguing that Title 55 and Title 65 are “unconstitutional,” which is not the case. My argument is that they are being enforced by agencies outside the grant of power by the statute, and are acting ultra vires, and in violence to the rights of the people.
Byrd leery of results of notice
Anthony Byrd is skeptical about public safety remaining intact — or even declining — if policing is pared back — or, as I declare it — brought within its legal limit.
“You know when you put it that way, the poor people, the African-Americans, you know we have been dealt with in such a bad way in the history of America. But — in this sense, I still don’t understand [the notice] so I would love to sit down with you someday and just get a better understanding of that law. When you tell it to me, it seems very true and understandable.
“But when I read it and talk to other law officials and judicial people,” Mr. Byrd says “they tell me that is not true — your interpretation is wrong. *** But I would love to sit down at any time and just rectify a wrong that America has done, or Chattanooga has done — I’d like to do that. That’s what we’re supposed to do. *** Your interpretation was inaccurate of the law and I need to understand more before I speak more on it. I don’t understand if these guys are incorrect — [or if] you are incorrect. And I think we have a lot of people who respect the work that you do *** . So I think there’s a lot of people willing to sit down and have that better understanding to see if you are correct — and if you are correct, then we need to fix it.”
In an interview after city council, Mr. Byrd theorizes how dangerous the city would become if police didn’t have Title 55 as the basis for arresting people in their cars via “traffic stops.” His arguments are almost identical to those made by Lawyer Phil in his exchanges with me over police powers.
2 years of wasted time?
I figure that traffic stop reform will take 3 ½ years to break through in Hamilton County before the concept takes root and starts affecting practice. It will occur via litigation, either against an individual officer or a city or county corporation. The suit will allege false arrest with malice and bad faith, on account of notice having been given about the limits on CPD authority.
My reading of the law on notice suggests time is on my side, and that people praying for liberation of blacks and others in Hamilton County while suffering under police and court abuse should take comfort in delay. Each passing day that Phil Noblett does not reply nor rebut TAN affirms that notice’s claims are agreed to and acquiesced in by the city. It implies that the city agrees with its analysis, despite comments made by Mr. Noblett or anyone else.
So, it matters not that Mr. Byrd or others disagree with notice, or criticize its claims, or say that the preparer is wrong, even if they do so publicly. There needs to be dispute of it in a legal sense, in a legal setting, for there to be a showing of its incapacity or error. There has to be a full accounting of it by the corporation.
There hasn’t been.
Things to consider in reviewing this work in journalism and Christian reconstruction and sanctification:
➤ A person who wishes to sue under the notice for an ultra vires transportation arrest has a year in which to do so, under the statute of limitations.
➤ A person who has a revoked, suspended, expired or no driver license is hugely exposed to criminal prosecution because he is presumptively “driving.” Since he is not “driving” but traveling or self-propelling or moving privately on the public right of way, he has to know what to say when arrested. My suggested defense is, “Officer, I am traveling under the notice and I make no statement without the presence of my attorney.” 0
➤ In these jurisdictions, notice has been given and is useable: Chattanooga, Red Bank, East Ridge, Dayton, State of Tennessee and Hamilton County.
➤ At trial the defense is a series of questions I have developed that show the officer is an ignoramus and has no evidence of transportation activity. Posts on this website reveal in detail these questions to disarm the prosecution and deny the judge subject matter jurisdiction.