Tenn. sheriff identifies COs, inmates involved in fight

Three COs were slightly injured when inmates began fighting and one inmate had to be shocked with a Taser

By Kate Harrison
Chattanooga Times Free Press

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office has released the names of the eight corrections officers and three inmates involved in a brawl at the Hamilton County Jail on Nov. 27.

Three of the jailers were slightly injured when inmates began fighting and one inmate had to be shocked with a Taser, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Janice Atkinson.

Corrections officers involved in the fight were Sgt. Kelvin Pell, Cpl. Michael Hughes, Officer Charles Bowman, Officer Wesley Chambers, Officer Ryan Epperson, Officer Daniel Harden, Officer Eric Qualls and Officer Justin White, according to Atkinson.

Harden previously was placed on a one-day suspension for violating general orders for excessive force after he "roughed up" an inmate in September, according to newspaper archives.

Pell, Harden's supervisor, also was suspended for a day because he was not immediately aware of the situation and did not intervene at the time.

The inmates involved in the fight were Charles Nash, Desmond Gearing and Terna Hatten, Atkinson said.

Nash, 25, is in jail on a first-degree murder charge; Gearing, 23, is in jail on charges of assault and theft under $500; Hatten, 25, is being held on federal charges.

The day of the Nov. 27 scuffle, Atkinson said, two inmates were moved to different cells after they began fighting about 6 p.m. A third inmate in the area became unruly and corrections officers used a Taser on him, she said.

All three inmates were checked by medical personnel according to policy, she said, but none was injured.

The three injured officers were treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released, Atkinson said.

As of this week, all officers have returned to work, though she said she could not mention full or restrictive duty "as this could be construed as medical information."

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