On Monday evening, officials with the East Ridge Police Department released a statement in regard to a story published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press showing graphic body cam video of officers taking a man into custody late last month.
According to the Times Free Press story, ERPD officers used a “chokehold” and tased Christopher Penn in the groin while taking him into custody. Penn was shoved into the back of a patrol car and taken to nearby Parkridge East Hospital where police left Penn. He was not arrested after his release but warrants for his arrest on charges of assaulting police and misusing 911 have been issued against Penn.
East Ridge Police Chief J.R. Reed released the following statement on Monday evening:
On, October 21 at approximately 3:45 am, East Ridge police officers responded to 6108 Welworth Avenue pursuant to a dispatch call reporting that a male caller had called 911 stating his girlfriend had let people into the residence that wanted to kill him. The caller also reported that he himself had been taking pills. When officers arrived, they came in contact with Delicia Crosby and a young baby. Ms. Crosby stated that the baby’s father, Mr. Christopher Penn, was currently on drugs and his drug of choice was cocaine and that he was in the back bedroom.
Upon contact with Mr. Penn, officers observed that Mr. Penn appeared to be in a very excited state of delirium. He was lying on a bed holding a small child and refused to release the child. While officers attempted to talk with Mr. Penn, he stated that people were trying to kill him and that the police were there to kill him. Officers continued to try to calm Mr. Penn and he continued to claim officers were there to kill him. Officers then took Mr. Penn into custody.
While attempting to escort Mr. Penn from the residence, he began to pull away and run. Officers were able to get him on a couch where he grabbed another child. Several officers were needed to rescue the child from Mr. Penn and restore control of Mr. Penn. Officers then walked Mr. Penn to a patrol car and he sat in the rear seat. However, when officers attempted to shut the door, Mr. Penn kicked open the door, jumped out, and began to kick at officers. One officer was kicked in the groin and Mr. Penn again attempted to run away. Officers took Mr. Penn to the ground and thought they had been able to calm Mr. Penn by talking to him. Mr. Penn agreed to get into the patrol car, but upon being helped up, Mr. Penn again started aggressively fighting with officers and struck another officer in the head.
An officer picked up Mr. Penn and attempted to put him into the patrol car. Mr. Penn started kicking at a third officer while pushing himself back into another officer. During the struggles, an officer tased Mr. Penn. Mr. Penn continued to fight with the officers and as a result an officer utilized a lateral neck restraint in an effort to restrain Mr. Penn. Mr. Penn was breathing at all times although he became unresponsive. Mr. Penn was placed into the patrol car and immediately transported to Parkridge East Hospital which was 0.3 miles away. He was released by the hospital at 11:00 a.m. the same day.