There has been general outcry after the Chattanooga Police Department refused to charge Officer Kenneth Freeman with assault after he knocked down a seventy-one-year old Walmart greeter and threw another man through a glass door. Now, Bill Walker, 71, is suing Freeman and the police department for $21 million.
Walker says that he was assaulted by Freeman on Christmas Even when he asked to see the officer’s receipt. When Freeman did not stop, he touched his arm and Freeman allegedly hit Walker. When a good samaritan tried to intervene, Walker says that Freeman shoved him through a glass door.
The police department refused to charge Freeman and merely suspended him for 28 days for conduct unbecoming an officer, execessive use of force and improper procedure.
Now, the department itself may have to pay for its employment and treatment of Walker. This is an example of how such civil lawsuit can play a needed role of deterrence in the absence of responsible conduct by department like the Chattanooga Police Department. Perhaps a degree of civil liability will instill a greater sense of responsibility for the department.