$550,000 settlement reached in police misconduct lawsuit

On March 9, 2021, Nashville civil rights law firm David Randolph Smith & Associates settled a police misconduct lawsuit against the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee for $550,000.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has the details:

“The Chattanooga City Council approved a $550,000 settlement Tuesday evening in the federal lawsuit filed by the last known rape victim of former city police officer Desmond Logan.

The settlement came after a nearly two-year court battle in which the city argued it couldn’t be held liable because Logan was a rogue officer — there was no policy or custom encouraging or condoning officer misconduct and no policymakers were aware of Logan’s criminal acts, its attorneys reasoned.

Logan pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of civil rights and was sentenced last year to 20 years in federal prison for multiple rapes while on duty.

While the city argued it wasn’t at fault, attorneys for the plaintiff — identified only as K.B. — remained steadfast in their belief that the city should be held responsible.

“This lawsuit was filed against the City because the City was responsible for keeping Desmond Logan in uniform and on duty after other women courageously came forward and reported him for sexual misconduct and rape,” the plaintiff’s attorney Chris Smith said in a statement Tuesday. “We hope that this litigation and settlement will serve as a reminder that allegations of police misconduct must be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated in an even-handed way.”

City spokespeople declined to respond.

It would’ve ultimately been up to a jury to determine whether the city was responsible, but with a settlement reached, no trial will be held.

Early in the criminal investigation, Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson and Capt. Pedro Bacon, both retired, were allegedly investigated for their potential roles in deleting a 2015 report by one of Logan’s earliest known victims, a woman identified only as T.L., the Times Free Press previously reported.

Neither McPherson nor Bacon has been charged in connection to the Logan case.

Additionally, Logan denied knowing of any alleged efforts by the two officers to suppress the accusation, according to deposition excerpts filed in federal court. He said he knew what he was doing — assaulting women — was against department policy and claimed he therefore never told anyone within the department about his actions.

In separate affidavits also filed in federal court, department leaders, including now-police Chief David Roddy, admitted to knowing about T.L.’s 2015 complaint, but noted that the complaint didn’t identify a suspect officer.

Roddy and other leaders had previously said they were unaware of any allegations against Logan before K.B.’s June 2018 report that sparked the investigations.

As for Logan, shortly after being sentenced in the criminal case, he filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and asked that a lawyer be appointed to help him investigate the merits of said appeal.

Specifically, Logan wanted to investigate three issues that boiled down to whether he was treated fairly under sentencing guidelines and case law.

But his court-appointed lawyer — Gary Lanker, of Memphis — asked the court in January to let him withdraw from the case after he reviewed the facts and applicable law and determined “that Mr. Logan’s direct appeal presents no issues of arguable merit.”

The appeals court still has to determine whether to grant Lanker’s motion to withdraw.”

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