By Camm Ashford
Collegedale Police on Monday released an internal review of the March 10 traffic stop where white Collegedale officer Evan Driskill used a Taser on black DoorDash driver
The investigation found that claims of excessive force were unfounded.
Collegedale Chief of Police Jack Sapp said, “The Collegedale Police Department respects the civil rights of all citizens, regardless of race, nationality or other protected characteristic, and is fully compliant with state and federal standards in that regard. Statistical analysis demonstrates that neither Officer Driskill or the Department at large has disparately initiated law enforcement actions against minority citizens.
Collegedale’s review of the incident has therefore been closed and Officer Driskill was found to have acted in accordance with policy and standard law enforcement procedures.”
Chief Sapp said Officer Driskill asked Gordon for identification 5 times during the incident, and he refused. Therefore he was arrested. The officer only used the Taser after Gordon refused to comply multiple times, Sapp noted.
“The officer opened the driver’s side door to make the arrest and ordered Mr. Gordon from the vehicle five times before transitioning to his Taser,” Chief Sapp said. “The officer drew his Taser and ordered the driver out of the car eight more times before holstering his Taser in an effort to de-escalate. The officer returned to hands-on with the driver and ordered him five more times to exit the vehicle, injuring his own leg in the struggle. It was only when Mr. Gordon emphatically stated “No!” to the officer’s many orders, that Officer Driskill made the decision to deploy his Taser to gain compliance and effect the arrest. After using the Taser, Officer Driskill had to order Mr. Gordon 10 more times out of the vehicle.”
Chief Sapp criticized Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston for not allowing a sheriff investigation of the incident to be completed, but sending it on to the U.S. Department of Justice, as was requested of the DA in a letter from the Chattanooga Clergy for Justice. Sapp also claimed Pinkston didn’t watch the full police cam video of the arrest.
“To our knowledge, no one from the district attorney’s office has requested to watch the video of the entire traffic stop, instead choosing to only view the 49 second clip recorded by the defendant’s cell phone,” Chief Sapp said. “Based on no other evidence, General Pinkston has moved to dismiss all charges against Mr. Gordon, which is unfair to Officer Driskill and the public at large.”
The March 10 traffic stop and arrest of the 28-year-old Gordon has gained national attention and come under intense investigation and legal challenge.
Gordon–who faces charges of speeding, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct based on Officer Driskill’s sworn affidavit which says Gordon was going 49 mph in a 35 mph zone–pressed record on his phone after he was pulled over. That recording, made public by Gordon’s attorney Ryan Wheeler, has since gone viral.
“Our officers have had to endure illegitimate claims of racism and threats of violence from those who have only seen a small portion of the entire interaction between Officer Driskill and Delane Gordon,” Collegedale’s Chief Sapp said. “I will always promote and support de-escalation when practical, but in this specific event only one person was acting unlawfully and that was Mr. Gordon.”