Chattanooga police misconduct lawsuit against police officer amended, alleges department cover-up

A Chattanooga police misconduct lawsuit alleging rape against Desmond Logan, a former police officer, was amended on Wednesday to add allegations against two of Logan’s former coworkers, retired Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson and retired Captain Pedro Bacon.

The original police misconduct suit claimed that the plaintiff–who has chosen to remain anonymous–was raped by former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan while in his custody. In June 2018, Logan allegedly coerced the plaintiff into his police car, drove her to a parking lot, and offered to let her “talk her way out” of her charges. He then pushed her against the vehicle and raped her. Afterwards, he drove her to the Hamilton County Jail and placed her in the custody of other officers.

The plaintiff claims that she tried repeatedly to tell officers at the Hamilton County Jail what Logan did to her, but was ignored.

The victim’s allegations came to light three days after the assault, when she was transferred to Erlanger and given a rape kit examination. She then filed a report with Internal Affairs.

The day after the plaintiff filed her report, Chief David Roddy of the Chattanooga Police Department issued a formal statement claiming that the victim’s accusation was the first allegation of sexual misconduct against Logan.

In fact, Logan had been accused of sexual assault on at least two prior occasions by two different victims.

One woman claims that in 2015, Logan placed her under false arrest, drove her to an abandoned parking lot, and raped her. Another woman alleges that, in 2016, Logan threatened her with handcuffs and assaulted her with a taser after escorting her to her vehicle.

Both victims notified authorities of their attacks soon after, but claim they were ignored. The statute of limitations has likely passed on these victims’ claims, but they came forward with their allegations once again upon hearing of the current lawsuit.

The current plaintiff filed her police misconduct lawsuit in Chattanooga on May 13, but amended it yesterday to add claims against retired Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson and retired Captain Pedro Bacon of the Chattanooga Police Department. The amended complaint alleges that the two officers exchanged multiple emails in which they discussed how to cover up the allegations against Logan.

The complaint also refers to a news story by the Chattanooga Times Free Press outlining previous cover-up accusations against McPherson. In 2012, McPherson’s niece was involved in a gang-related homicide investigation. McPherson intervened in the investigation, and although four men were charged in relation to the incident, McPherson’s niece was not; no evidence could be found against her. The case was soon dismissed.

At the time, the Internal Affairs investigators recommended that McPherson be disciplined for his intervention. The police department’s chiefs overturned the decision, and McPherson was never disciplined.

In her amended police misconduct lawsuit against Logan, the plaintiff argues that the Chattanooga Police Department has shown a history of covering up unfavorable accusations, refusing to properly discipline its employees, and failing to protect the public from the harmful actions of its officers.

The lawsuit alleges multiple Fourth Amendment violations, including abuse of power, unreasonable search, and intrusion on plaintiff’s bodily integrity. It also seeks to establish municipal liability on behalf of the City of Chattanooga due to its “custom, tolerance, and acquiescence to repeated federal rights violations by its police officers.”

For more about the case, including commentary by Tennessee personal injury attorneys Chris Smith and Dominick Smith, view WRCBtv’s video and written article.

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