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When is Police Aggressiveness NOT Acceptable?

On Tuesday, June 23rd, a A 25-year-old Nashville (Antioch) man was attacked by police while in the Centennial Medical Center parking lot waiting on a client.  Yonatan Tessema, an Ethiopian immigrant, is a driver for ABC Express Transportation, and had taken his client to a doctor’s appointment at the hospital.  When his client’s appointment was over, Tessema rushed to his vehicle and was immediately surrounded by police. Unfortunately, it took several bruises, a little blood, and a broken window before police realized they had the wrong man. 

At around 2 p.m. Tuesday, Tessema got the call his client was ready to leave.  He states, “I was running from the hospital to my car because I didn’t want to keep my client waiting outside.”

What Tessema did not realize was that Metro Police officers had staked out that parking lot looking for a wanted fugitive.  When Tessema got to his car, unmarked police cars surrounded him and blocked him in his parking space.

“That’s when they started flashing their lights and cursing, saying get the “F” out of the car.”  Tessema said that before he could get out of the car, officers began rushing him.  Tessema said, “Out the corner of my eye I could see a policeman running and he just knocked out my window, and I had already slightly opened the door when the window was broken.  And then they pulled the door open. Somebody grabbed me from the side. Somebody grabbed my legs and they just pushed me down to the ground”

During this entire time, Tessema asked the officers why he was being arrested, but he could not get them to answer his question.  Once Tessema was in custody, the officers asked him his name, and a few minutes later, they admitted they had targeted the wrong person.

Metro Police spokesman, Don Aaron, stated, “Everyone was acting in good faith. The officers were trying to take a bad guy off the streets. A really bad guy.”  Aaron confirmed that officers were at Centennial Medical Center because they had information that their wanted fugitive was at that particular hospital. That fugitive was said to have dreadlocks, similartoTessema’s.

When the officers realized they had the wrong man, everything began to change.  “They just kept apologizing and the police officer who busted my window said get an estimate, get your window tinted and call me tomorrow and give me the estimate.”

A spokesperson for Metro Police said there will be an internal review of what happened to make sure the officers involved followed department policy during this incident.

So, my question to you is this: Did the police go too far?  Should they have had more information before attacking this guy?  And let’s face it, that was an attack, but was it justified?

Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!

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