Former Rohnert Park Police Sergeant Faces Credibility Questions as He Testifies in Court This Week
The lawsuit Tatum is currently involved in was filed against the City of Rohnert Park, Tatum, and two other officers by a couple that alleges Sgt. Tatum illegally entered their home through the back door while the other officers interviewed the couple at their front door.
KQED’s reporter, Sukey Lewis, who has been investigating the allegations first brought to light on this website, was at this trial also. She has written a detailed description of what occurred at the trial on Wednesday. (Click here to go to her account.)
KQED also published an earlier story, Ex-Rohnert Park Police Officer Skips Court ‘Because KQED Might Be There’ (We Were), about the first day of the trial in which Tatum reportedly refused to attend because he was concerned that a reporter from KQED would be there. That article recounts the following statement from the plaintiffs’ attorney Arturo Gonzalez to the trial judge:
“This witness is hiding from the court…He doesn’t want to come because he doesn’t want the media to exercise their First Amendment right, that’s not unavailability. That’s hiding.”
However, Tatum had to testify on Wednesday. And Lewis’s article, Ex-Cop’s Credibility Is Key Question In Federal Suit Against Rohnert Park, captures the drama. A small excerpt below highlights a key concern, but the whole article is riveting.
“You’ve testified untruthfully under oath, haven’t you?” González asked Tatum at one point.
The courtroom fell silent as Tatum paused for a long moment.
“What are you referring to?” he finally answered. “I’m not sure. If you can refer to a certain point or case?”
“You’re aware of the fact you testified untruthfully in Superior Court in Sonoma County?” the lawyer asked.
A KQED investigation found Tatum has had issues with credibility dating back to at least 2015, when his shifting testimony about the probable cause for a traffic stop led a judge to dismiss the case. In a 2016 case, four Sonoma County defense attorneys submitted affidavits declaring that they had reason to question Tatum’s credibility. In another case, Tatum’s reason for an arrest was disproved by body-camera footage.
Read the whole article by clicking here.
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