Knoxville Officer Who Shot Unarmed Man in Back Can’t Claim Immunity

Gerlach had stopped on the Interstate 40 ramp at the West Hills interchange when he saw a car with a flat tire. Carden, the driver, was changing the tire. Gerlach began to drive away when, according to the dash cam video, he suddenly returned to his position behind the car. DeBusk has said Gerlach discovered the license plate on the car was not registered for that vehicle.

Carden threw two punches, neither of which struck the officer, and ran up a nearby hill. The two wound up on the ground with Carden on top of Gerlach. The officer tried to disable him via a stun gun but wound up shocking himself instead, and Carden quickly stood up and began to run away, court records and autopsy results showed.

An autopsy by Knox County Chief Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Lochmuller concluded Carden suffered six gunshot wounds from behind, with all but one of the bullets fired from more than 3 feet away.
Knoxville Police Department Chief David Rausch respondsBuy Photo

The autopsy also revealed an oddity not yet addressed in any of the legal pleadings filed in the lawsuit. In the dash cam footage, Carden was dressed in jeans and a buttoned-up shirt when he ran from Gerlach. His body arrived at the morgue shirtless and in handcuffs. Lochmuller noted KPD did not turn over the shirt to him until Aug. 20, 2014, three weeks after the shooting.

The case now returns to Varlan for the setting of a trial date. Carden’s son is suing both Gerlach and KPD. Deputy Law Director Ron Mills is representing KPD. City taxpayers are footing the bill for a private attorney for Gerlach.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Forrest Carlton Lackey

    There’s this thing called personal responsibility. It’s something a lot of cops and their supporters, who often claim to be conservative and christian, say they have and wish they would see more of.
    Having a badge means more accountability, not less.
    No, he shouldn’t have run from you.
    But murder was not the right answer.
    You should have resorted to a non lethal take down.
    As spider man was told, great power means great responsibility. As the Bible says, to him whom much is given, much more will be asked. So the fact our tax dollars go to arm and train you to handle this situation means we can be pissed when you over react and shoot somebody. He maybe in the wrong, but he wasn’t an actual threat. It’s not about you and your ego’s take on your authority.
    It’s about as morally bank rupt as me, a big man, walking into a store. A little girl punches me in the balls, and I send her to the hospital.
    Or shoot her.
    Naturally that’s what Jesus would do, instead of smack her hand, give her a spanking, or better yet, get her mother and have her grounded. (in this case grounded means prison).