Melvin settlement keeps abusive policing ‘swept under rug’

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Hanson Melvin is in a cheerful mood outside the Hamilton County courts building in Chattanooga after a judge orders the expungement of the bogus city police case against him, one that involved perjury by an officer, and a mix of assistance and complicity from DA Neal Pinkston.. (Photo David Tulis)

Hanson Melvin, the “walking while black” victim of Chattanooga police abuse, settled his case with the city, on advice of a lawyer.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

His attorney would not say for how much, but indicated the damages payment was considerably less than the F$500,000 demanded from Mr. Melvin’s May 29, 2016, encounter with officer David Campbell, who was later fired.

The settlement keeps from public view a disturbing pattern of officer misconduct, including, perjury, conspiracy to deprive citizens of their rights, and private communications among officers to arrange for intimidation and harassing encounters with people such as Mr. Melvin, who stood his ground as against a false charge of “disorderly conduct.”

David Campbell, a Chattanooga officer fired just before mayoral elections for violating car use policy and abusing Hanson Melvin.

Mr. Melvin, married and the father of three children, said he had been instructed by attorney Clay Whittaker to say nothing about the terms of the settlement.

“No trial — no trial. I didn’t want to keep going through the process, man. I should’ve just hung in there.

“I just feel like those other guys didn’t get what they deserved. I feel like Campbell did the work, but they helped him do it, too.” He refers to a gang of officers paid him a friendly visit the moment he pulled up to his apartment in a friend’s car upon returning from the county jail.

“I don’t hate Campbell or nothing, I don’t have no ill feelings. I kinda feel bad for him. They asked me if I wanted to keep showing up to the hearings, if I wanted to keep jumping him, you know what I mean? I think he’s had enough. People know what happened, and I think that’s enough. I don’t want to financially hurt him. I just want to wake him up.” Mr. Campbell didn’t have to pay anything.

“If I can get away with something, I’m going to keep doing it. Nobody putting you in check,” Mr. Melvin said, citing Mr. Campbell’s pattern of wrongful acts, from the Thomas Boston arrest to reckless speeding on city streets in his cruiser.

He regrets the loss of exposure that the settlement brings. “I guess you’re right. I never did think that deep, Dave, to be honest with you, Dave. I had to miss work a couple of days, and stuff like that. I didn’t want to keep on missing work. Going through all this stuff. You know what? I should have thought about it long and hard. I guess you’re right. Guess you’re right, my friend. *** Swept under the rug. Swept under the rug.”

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