CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man was arrested Sunday night at a memorial site for the Chattanooga shooting and it was caught on camera by News 2 affiliate WTVC.
The incident happened around 9:30 p.m. at 6129 Lee Highway.
Chattanooga police arrested and charged James Hutchins from Jasper, Tennessee, with disorderly conduct and inciting a riot.
An officer was at the scene when he reported he noticed Hutchins become “noticeably disorderly.” The officer said Hutchins arrived on the scene at about 5:30 p.m. and immediately began preaching from the curb, according to an affidavit.
“This behavior went on for hours and the crowd began to respond in a negative way to his boisterous behavior,” said the officer. “Mr. Hutchins was pointing at the crowd and yelling things like “boy” and “queer” to stir a reaction from the crowd.”
The affidavit said Hutchins was talked to several times by Sgt. Lewis Davis and told to be respectful to others and not to incite the crowd. The affidavit stated Hutchins continued to pace the property, yell and scream.
At about 9 p.m., Lt. Mark Smeltzer responded to the scene to reason with Hutchins, and asked him to be respectful to others that were there visiting the crime scene, but acknowledged he still had his freedom of speech.
The affidavit said that during the discussion, Hutchins put his hands on Lt. Smeltzer’s shoulder and the lieutenant asked him nicely not to touch his person.
Hutchins said that he had the right to preach and speak freely and continued to do so. He again started pointing at into the crowd and “attempted to agitate individuals and engaged them in argumentative discussion.”
According to the report, he got face to face with one man, arguing at close range. Police went over to keep the peace and asked the two individuals to separate.
The affidavit said when Officer Gaines approached Hutchins, he pointed at Gaines and stated, “what if I were to call you a n—–.”
Officer Gaines is African-American, and the affidavit says the crowd began to stir, yell and react very negatively to his comment.
The affidavit said when Lt. Smeltzer approached Mr. Hutchins to address the racial slur and disrespectful language, Hutchins grabbed the lieutenant’s arm and said “what’s up lieutenant.”
The affidavit stated the crowd began to close in on him and that is when police put Hutchins into custody.
He was then transported to the county jail for disorderly conduct and inciting a riot.