CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Sept. 15, 2022 — Mayor Tim Kelly’s seeming last-minute switch to back a city council challenger by posting her arrest video the day before balloting fails to get the protest leader over the top to victory.
Mr. Kelly had given official and also personal support to incumbent Marvine Noel, so strong that he appears to have violated Tennessee’s “Little Hatch Act” that bars officials from using public office to support or oppose candidates for office.
Mrs. Noel and Marie Mott are in a runoff today. Mrs. Noel wins by 70 votes in one of the city’s poorest districts, residence of many blacks. The vote is 400 to 330.
Mayor Kelly, seeming to discount earlier promises to pare police abuses, and rejecting Tennessee transportation administrative notice and the clear limits on city cops in state law, ordained Miss Mott’s arrest and seizure Sunday, Sept. 11, as she was heading home late at night.
His police department made the video available to media outlets via the city attorney’s office. They posted the arrest video the day before balloting — to keep the public informed and to keep Mayor Kelly safe from accusations that he was trying to influence an election.
Police convert admin violations into alleged crimes
Mayor Kelly’s agents surrounded Miss Mott’s car en masse, in as many as four blue light-flashing police cruisers, and criminally charged her. They bullied her under threat of arrest into signing digitally her name into a device, her agreement to appear on criminal charges in court.
The breaches are administrative in nature, but members of the private traveling public are routinely charged criminally under the city’s commercial ordinance and state commercial shipping law as if the violations are crimes subject to due process protections, including evidence of harm and intent.
The chief crime alleged against Miss Mott is a burned-out lightbulb on the right front of her Xterra car. Officers stopped Miss Mott, a graphic designer, under an ordinance regarding automotive lights, adopted from state law.
Officers also enforced a law against her that is under Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55 entirely the province of the commissioner revenue, and they did so without having any agency authority from the commissioner, David Gerregano, who has a sole agent in Hamilton County, that being Bill Knowles, the county clerk. That law is the motor vehicle registration law.
They also enforced a law against her that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the department of safety and homeland security. That is the financial responsibility law in Title 55. The law says this law is “administered” by the commissioner of that department. Jeff Long, former sheriff of Williamson County, is Gov. Bill Lee’s safety commissioner.
CPD spokeswoman Jerri Sutton says the two primary officers in the Mott arrest are Codi Monroy, the woman officer, and Kelly Cronon, a man.
Kelly intervenes in voting
The officers in the 14 minute encounter run their bodycams showing Miss Mott toughly and aggressively defending her rights and declaiming the officers’ accusations as they enforce commercial government policy upon her. They start the encounter by demanding her driver license, proof of insurance and proof of registration of her car as a motor vehicle in use that hour for commercial services as either a common or private carrier. These three documents are proofs the car at the moment is being used commercially for hire. Miss Mott was alone in the car, and the officers made to attempt to determine if she was under contract for cargo delivery.
The video files were published on TV news the day before the balloting under Mayor Kelly’s direction, as chief Celeste Murphy serves at his pleasure the the police department serves the executive brach of municipal government.
It appears that the mayor’s posting the video, which shows Miss Mott losing her temper and using profanity at the two officers, was an attempt to help her make her point about police abuse among blacks that have inspired mass protests in Chattanooga.
Miss Mott led the 2020 George Floyd murder marches in Chattanooga, with others. She remains under pains of a misdemeanor criminal case on charge that she stole and burned a flag of the Hamilton County sheriff’s department. She has had to hire a lawyer to help her make a defense. Miss Mott has a popular show on NoogaRadio 96.9 and the NoogaRadio Network Tuesdays 11 a.m.
Miss Mott is a rare candidate for office as she understands the continuing abuse by the city police department of the Tennessee motor vehicle code at Title 55. The driver license law and other motor vehicle regulations in that volume have long been used by police to manage the poor and blacks and to effect social engineering, largely by creating a “pipeline” or “pathway” from street to cell, and from public school to docket of the city and county judicial-industrial complex.
The day before balloting, Miss Mott complained to this reporter that his describing the Sunday police seizure as an “arrest” would hurt her last minute among voters. But the encounter was not a mere detention, but an arrest by the mayor’s agents. Tennessee jurisprudence that holds that the moments the blue lights flash along the roadway, an arrest is in effect from a 4th Amendment perspective.