An internal affairs report says a Chattanooga police officer who was fired in February for false arrest, harassment and violating the vehicle use policy drove more than 100 miles per hour on city streets multiple times.
According to the Times Free Press, Officer David Campbell sometimes didn’t use his emergency equipment while driving at high rates of speed.
It lists six times he topped 100 miles per hour, including driving 112 to 120 once while responding to help deputies on a call.
Lt. Jerri Sutton wrote that Campbell’s actions were “menacing and pose a danger to public safety.”
Lt. C.W. Joel wrote that Campbell’s driving habits were “founded in the urge to help his fellow officers,” but “not remotely balanced” with his obligation to regard people’s lives, including his own.
Given the opportunity to explain his own driving record, Campbell said he did not feel he needed more training and he hadn’t forgotten the department’s guidelines on vehicle use.
“Sometimes policy is not at the forefront of my mind,” he said. “My tactics are as safe as possible. I also hope my driving record speaks for itself since I haven’t hit anything yet and anything hasn’t hit me.”
He also said he had not intentionally violated policy.
He was terminated after a hearing that covered both his driving infractions and the false arrest of Hanson Melvin, 27, on May 29, 2016.
In that case, Campbell arrested Melvin for disorderly conduct at the Northgate Crossing Apartments.
Campbell responded to a report of a fight and spotted Melvin, whom he knew, walking on the sidewalk nearby. Campbell asked Melvin if he had gotten his revoked license back yet.
Melvin said no, but Campbell became authoritative and began to demand the license, calling himself a government official on government property. The situation escalated after Melvin told Campbell he was tired of being harassed by the officer. Campbell told him to put his hands on the car and placed him under arrest.
“It is clear in the audio of the [in-car] system that Hanson Melvin was quite calm for most of this encounter until the realization of the impending arrest. Officer Campbell, however, goes from being friendly, to being authoritative and finally the arrest of Melvin after the ‘none of your business’ statement which drew more attention than Melvin’s actions,” reads an internal affairs report.
Campbell has the opportunity to appeal his termination and his attorney said an administrative hearing has been set for May 31-June 2.
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