CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A couple is suing several Chattanooga Police officers and the city, after they say officers illegally entered and searched their S. Seminole Drive home in February 2018.
The 34-page lawsuit says this happened after Dale Edmonds was shot in the chest by his own stepson days before. He and his wife, Alinda had returned home from the hospital, and were meeting with a representative from the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Another DHS representative waited in a vehicle in the driveway.
The lawsuit says the officers entered the home after a false claim by their neighbor that the home was a "drug house." The neighbor also reportedly told the 911 operator someone was seated in a car in the driveway.
The complaint says that claim led officers to enter the home, guns drawn. The lawsuit says the officers "manhandled" Dale, despite him explaining his injuries and why his arm was in a sling. The officers reportedly forced Edmonds, his wife and the DHS representative outside. The lawsuit says the officers later realized they made a mistake and left.
The complaint says the Chattanooga officers did not have a valid search warrant to enter the home, nor did they have a valid reason to enter the home with out a search warrant. The complaint says the incident caused defendants to experience mental anguish and emotional distress.
In March 2018, Edmonds says he met with the Chattanooga Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) and filled out a Chattanooga Police Department Initial Report of Complaint. He says didn't hear anything for three months. After that, he says he went back to the IAU and asked about the status of the complaint. Edmonds says he was told the first complaint was lost and he needed to fill out a second complaint, and he complied. After more delays, Edmonds asked again about the complaint, in which he was told it also was lost, but was later found on an investigator's desk. The couple's lawsuit accuses agents of losing their internal affairs complaint on purpose.
30 days after the second complaint was filed, Edmonds says he was told body-camera footage from the officers who entered his home would be pulled, but says he didn't hear back about an update. Edmonds said he contacted the department several times asking for the names of the officers involved. He says he was told last week the department would release the names February 16, 2019. That's two days after the statute of limitations expires for Edmonds to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit says this is not the first time a commander of the IAU has delayed investigations of complaints.
The couple is asking for $1.3 million in damages and a jury trial.
Read the full lawsuit below: