Photo Credit: UTC Police Body Cam Capture
On August 27th, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga police were contacted to respond to a professor’s call that a student was refusing to wear a mask in contradiction to the school’s mask mandate.
The call resulted in the student being suspended from school, removed from school grounds by UTC Police and the issuance of a citation for disorderly conduct.
Following a request for comment from UTC officials on the incident met with a sidestepping of our questioning, The Tennessee Conservative submitted an Open Records Request to the UTC Police Department and UTC officials on August 30th.
The request was for bodycam footage from the officers involved along with any and all internal/external communication regarding the event.
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After repeated prompting, UTC provided the requested information on September 10th, including the police report and the bodycam footage of all the officers involved.
In reviewing the police report, we have found that the body cam footage does corroborate the officer’s account of events.
Segments from the police report outline the chain of events.
On August 27th, 2021, at approximately 0925 hours, a UTC police Sergeant responded to suspicious activity at Brock Hall. Dispatch had advised the officer that a professor had called to say a student was refusing to wear a mask.
The professor asked the student to leave but the student refused.
The officer advised dispatch to contact student conduct in reference to the mask mandate non-compliance which resulted in an additional officer being sent for backup.
Upon arrival to Brock Hall, the Sergeant met with Student Conduct at the door of the classroom who stated that they had asked the student to leave. However, the student had refused saying that they were violating his rights.
Following, the Sergeant entered the classroom and asked the student to leave.
The student replied that he had done nothing wrong.
The Sergeant made several attempts to persuade the student to leave to no avail, then ordered him to leave.
The student did not comply and remained seated at his desk.
In response, the Sergeant contacted UTC Captain John Boe who advised him to stand by for his arrival at the scene.
Along with Captain Boe, two more officers arrived and asked all the students and the professor to leave the room while they spoke with the student.
Captain Boe advised the student that he had spoken with Brett Fuchs, the Director of Student conduct and Associate Dean of Students, and that the student was now under interim suspension. The student was advised he could not go to his next class due to the suspension.
The student then left but officers witnessed him walking to his next class at the EMCS building.
Fuchs met the officers at the EMCS building and went inside with Captain Boe. The rest of the officers remained outside awaiting orders.
When the officers were called in, the students in the class were asked to leave while they spoke to the now-suspended student once again.
Fuchs spoke with the student in an attempt to convince him to leave without being escorted by officers but he refused. Captain Boe echoed the plea.
Captain Boe then ordered the Sergeant and another officer to escort the student out.
The Sergeant stood the student up and placed him in handcuffs.
As the Sergeant tried to lead the student out, the student went limp.
The Sergeant repeatedly asked the student to walk to avoid injury but he did not comply.
At this point, another officer joined the Sergeant in leading the student out of the building by lifting him by his armpits and carrying him outside.
Upon reaching the outside of the building, the student began walking under his own power.
After being shown to the backseat of one of the officer’s vehicles, the student was told that he was not going to be arrested but was going to be written a citation for his behavior.
The student was also advised by Fuchs that he was not permitted on campus unless escorted by Captain Boe or another representative of the UTC Police Department.
UTC Police then escorted the student to the police department where he was issued a citation in lieu of arrest. He was charged with Disorderly Conduct (TCA 39-17-305) and was advised that he must appear for his court date or a warrant would be issued for his arrest.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com