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Former Tennessee cop is accused of using excessive force

Before he became a police officer, Geraldo Orta was a University of Tennessee football player perhaps best known for being accused of beating up a teammate. Today, he has become known as a former cop who was fired for lying and for being accused in a federal lawsuit of using excessive force while making a drug arrest.

The 26-year-old former police officer was fired nearly a year ago for lying about whether he had responded to a burglar alarm at a bicycle store. Days ago, he was accused of using a stun gun and stomping on a man’s neck while arresting the suspect for huffing behind a store.

Orta was with the Knoxville Police Department for less than a year before he was fired by the city’s police chief for lying about responding to an alarm. A recent lawsuit filed in federal court accuses him of using an electric stun gun and stomping on the neck of a suspect who was, by all accounts, nonviolent.

Knoxville officers do not wear bodycams, and bushes behind the store where the encounter occurred blocked Orta’s cruiser’s dashcam from recording video of the incident, though it did capture audio.

Though Orta denied to internal investigators that he stomped on the man, he did eventually admit that he had “sparked” his stun gun. The activation of the stun gun was in violation of Knoxville Police Department policy for dealing with suspects who do not struggle.

The man claims in his lawsuit that he was hospitalized for more than two weeks after the incident, and that his injuries required him to undergo surgery and have a new pacemaker installed.

In the recorded audio, Orta can be heard threatening to use the stun gun on the man. A few seconds later, the man says he is hurt and that he can’t get up.

As we have learned in Chattanooga, not every arrest is legitimate and not every police officer serves and protects the public.

If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights and defend your freedom.

 

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TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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