WATCH: HSCO releases body cam video of student, SRO altercation at East Ridge High | Local News

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has released the full body camera video of a controversial arrest made at East Ridge High School Tuesday.

Deputy Tyler McRae is seen in cell phone video pulling an East Ridge High School student by his hair and backpack and throwing him to the ground on bleachers in the school’s gym.

The hour-long video picks up with the gym teacher explaining to Deputy Tyler McRae that Tauris Sledge, 18, refused to play in kickball. When the teacher asked him about it, the teacher said Sledge “bucked up” at him. In Sledge’s arrest warrants, the teacher claims Sledge “puffed out his chest in an aggressive manner.”

The deputy approaches the student, when Sledge gets visibly angry for the first and only time caught on video.

Then, McRae puts his hand on Sledge’s shoulder.

“Get your hands off me,” Sledge tells McRae. “You’ve got five seconds to get your hands off of me.”

That’s when McRae claims he felt threatened by Sledge, according to Sledge’s arrest warrants.

The incident continues to the gym’s bleachers, where McRae tells Sledge to follow him multiple times. That’s when McRae explains to him that he would be taking him into custody.

“I’m giving you a lawful order to get up and come on,” said McRae. “Take the backpack off. We are fixing to go to jail. Don’t resist me, dude. Don’t do it. I told you not to resist me.”

What happened next was caught on cell phone video, which was circulated on social media and obtained by Local 3 News. The video shows McRae pulling Sledge by his hair and his backpack on bleachers in the school’s gym.

Later, after McRae told Sledge to remove his backpack multiple times, McRae uses his pepper spray on the student.

“You are fixing to get put into handcuffs one way or another. Take the bag off,” McRae told Sledge. “Take it off.”

McRae was later heard explaining his actions to Sledge’s father when he showed up to the school.

“I don’t want to tase the kid,” said McRae. “I didn’t want to use the baton so I used the most compliant force I can, which is the pepper spray.”

Sledge was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault.

Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett said the department is investigating the incident internally.

Local 3 News has filed a public records request for the deputy’s personnel files.

You can watch the deputy’s body camera video in its entirety below. The video contains language some may find offensive.

September 21 story:

“To me, this looks like something that had a high likelihood of death or serious bodily injury because of where they were,” Robin Flores, who is representing Sledge in his criminal case, said of the 12-second video. “We need to know more than what’s just in that little blurb.”

Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett said in a statement to Local 3 News that the video does not tell the whole story, adding the department plans on releasing the full body camera video of the incident.

“The contents of the video will show the complete picture of the events that occurred that day surrounding the deputy’s use of force at East Ridge High School,” Garrett said.

Sledge was later pepper sprayed and charged with resisting arrest, assault, and disorderly conduct.

“What was going through the officer’s mind at the time where he felt that amount of force was necessary?” Flores said.

Local 3 News also learned the deputy in the incident is the same one involved in several ongoing civil rights lawsuits. According to the lawsuit, McRae is accused of “fondling and groping” underage girls during a traffic stop.

Also named in that lawsuit is Daniel Wilkey, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy who is accused in a separate federal lawsuit of baptizing a woman against her will. McRae was not present for the lawsuit, but was there for the search, which they are accused of making unnecessarily lengthy and inappropriate.

Gerald Tidwell, who is representing McRae in the federal civil rights case, said his client is now getting threats made against him on social media over the circulation of the video. He is asking for those threats to be investigated.

“The 15-second video being shown on social media is only a fraction of the event that is captured on my client’s body camera, which has over one hour of video of this event,” said Tidwell. “I ask those in the public threatening my client and his family to allow this matter to be investigated and stop making statements that scare some and inflame others without knowing the whole story.”

Flores said he plans to argue in court that this most recent incident at East Ridge High School shows a pattern of misconduct.

“Now you have Officer McRae off the street and in a school setting, dealing with teenagers,” said Flores.

Local 3 News has filed multiple public records requests for the full body camera video of the incident and McRae’s personnel files. We will share details we learn in those on air and online when those requests are fulfilled.


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