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Woman Reportedly Raped by a Chattanooga Police Officer Alleges Fourth Amendment Violations, Coverup

Attorneys representing a woman in a lawsuit against the city of Chattanooga who alleges former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan raped her filed an amended complaint on Wednesday alleging a coverup and Fourth Amendment violations, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The updated filing contends that Logan has a history of “inappropriate sexual misconduct, including a previous rape incident” and that Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Edwin McPherson conspired with retired Capt. Pedro Bacon to suppress records of that misconduct. At least three women maintain that they were raped by Logan since he began his law enforcement career in 2015. The city has not filed a response to the complaint and has declined to comment on the matter.

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Knox Jail Alternative Seeks Additional Funding

The Knox County program that offers an alternative to jail for nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders is seeking additional funding from the municipality, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The Helen Ross McNabb Center opened last year and signed a three-year contract with Knox County to operate a 16-bed center where law enforcement can place qualifying offenders, who can then be held for up to 72 hours before being given referrals to assistance and a case manager upon release. The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse provided the center with $3.4 million for renovations and pay for startup costs; however, that money only covered three-quarters of the initial funds needed. McNabb Center CEO Jerry Vagnier has asked Knox County commissioners for $840,000 and the city for $560,000 to cover operation costs for the fiscal year.

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Nashville Council to Again Consider Banning Short-Term Rentals in Residential Zones

The Metro Nashville Council will again consider new restrictions on short-term rental properties — such as Airbnbs — in residential areas, The Tennessean reports. Nashville moved to issue a similar ban last year; however, the General Assembly nixed it because of concerns regarding the rights of property owners. The council will consider the bill in its July 2 meeting.

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Rutherford County Adult Detention Center Offers Parenting Program to Incarcerated Mothers

The Rutherford County Adult Detention Center has started a novel initiative to assist incarcerated mothers by offering parenting classes and increased visits with their children, the Daily News Journal reports. The program, incepted in January, is operated in cooperation with the Family Center, an organization that provides guidance and assistance to families coping with trauma. There are currently four moms enrolled in the program and the jail plans to offer participation to fathers in the future. Rutherford County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Chris Fly believes the resource will be beneficial to deputies as well by showing them a different side of inmates.

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Stewart County Director of Schools Facing DUI Charges

Stewart County Director of Schools Leta Jo Joiner on Tuesday was arrested on DUI charges, The Leaf Chronicle reports. Joiner, who has been the director since 2014 after serving as a principal at Dover Elementary School, is due in court on May 28.

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Shelby County Owes Suburban School Districts Millions

Shelby County’s suburban school districts are owed about $5.2 million by the county regarding funding of capital school projects, The Commercial Appeal reports. Current policy states that there be an equitable disbursement to each district; however, recent changes to the schools’ funding system when the suburban school districts seceded has created a two-year backlog on project development. Several of the schools affected were forced to find creative funding for existing projects such as bond sales, dipping into reserves — which cannot be reimbursed with county money — and completing projects piecemeal over several fiscal years.

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Bradley County Commissioner Arrested for Domestic Assault

Bradley County Commissioner Erica Davis on Wednesday was arrested on domestic assault charges after a “heated argument” in her home, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at the house where they reported a man with visible injuries, subsequently taking Davis into custody. She maintains that she did not assault the man and that the injuries were self-inflicted. In addition to commissioner, Davis serves as a behavioral intervention specialist with Bradley County Schools and on the municipality’s Finance, IT, Juvenile and Law Enforcement committees.

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Metro Nashville Government Releases Report on Tax Incentive Funding

The Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County released its Tax Increment Financing Study & Formulating Committee Report, which examines Metro’s Tax Incentive Funding (TIF) used to promote redevelopment in blighted areas. Mayor David Briley signed ordinance BL2018-1315 creating the committee to formulate recommendations on implementation of and ensure more transparency regarding the municipalities use of TIF. In its report, the committee compiled a number of observations and 17 recommendations, formally asking the Mayor’s Office to provide Metro Council with a description of agencies or departments that will address the recommendations, including cost estimates for implementation. The committee was scheduled to present its recommendations to the Metro Council last week. 

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Shelby County Swears in First Female Chief Public Defender

Shelby County swore in its first female chief public defender yesterday, The Commercial Appeals reports. Phyllis Aluko has spent 25 years in the office where she began as a volunteer, then moving to the trial division for 10 years, later transferring to the appellate division. Judge Bernice Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said at the ceremony: "Phyllis Aluko is now, has been and will be an exceptional public defender … She understands the needs of the office, the needs of the community." Aluko replaces former Shelby County Public Defender Stephen Bush, who retired in February.
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Scooter Firms Eyeing Chattanooga Market

Commuters in Chattanooga will soon have another transit option: electric scooters, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Currently a common conveyance in Nashville and Memphis, the scooters have become ubiquitous on city sidewalks, with the municipalities grappling with ways to regulate their use. In fact, the scooters were initially banned in Nashville just two days following introduction last May, with city leaders expressing concerns over pedestrian safety and sidewalk obstruction. Nashville’s Metro Council eventually rescinded the ban, putting in place a permit process and new rules allowing the companies to be fined for scooters left on sidewalks, also requiring riders to stay off sidewalks in business districts and use hand signals when turning. City leaders in Chattanooga have expressed similar concerns and intend to methodically address these concerns over a 12-month pilot period. Companies that wish to offer the service in Chattanooga will pay a $110 fee for each newly permitted dockless vehicle.

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