By Shelly Bradbury
Published March 21, 2015
A Chattanooga police investigator is himself under investigation among allegations he hosted a party at the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge that was attended by well-known gang members.
An internal affairs fact-finding investigation was opened into Officer Iran Meadows on March 5, police records show, and centers on events the night of Jan. 31, when Meadows used the Fraternal Order of Police lodge to host a party.
The organization routinely allows members to use the lodge at 1709 Holtzclaw Ave. for free for events — typically baby showers, family reunions or birthday parties.
But sources who asked to remain anonymous say this party was much more than that, with felons and gang members paying a cover charge and crowding the space with red Solo cups in hand. A Facebook promo apparently for the event billed it as the ABC — Anything But Clothes — party, and featured slinky, scantily clad models in provocative poses.
An on-duty officer who coincidentally stopped in the lodge’s parking lot to do paperwork noticed the unusual activity and alerted authorities, sources say. Police then discovered photos on social media that clearly showed gang members inside the police lodge.
Police Chief Fred Fletcher issued a statement on the investigation Friday.
“It was brought to the attention of the Chattanooga Police Department administration that a member of the FOP reserved the FOP lodge for purposes unrelated to the FOP on Jan. 31,” the statement read. “The Chattanooga Police Department initiated a fact-finding investigation to determine details surrounding this matter.”
Sean O’Brien, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Rock City Lodge 22, declined to comment because of the ongoing internal affairs investigation.
Meadows has been with the Chattanooga Police Department since 1991 and now works as a detective in the property crimes division. During the last 24 years, he’s been investigated by internal affairs 11 times.
Meadows could not be reached for comment. He did not answer his office phone nor respond to email Friday afternoon.
He is the third investigator on the force in six months to be investigated for allegations of bad behavior. In September, Detective Karl Fields was accused of sending inappropriate texts to a woman whose rape case he was investigating.
And another detective, David Catchings Jr., was put on leave after he was arrested Sept. 8 for driving under the influence and reckless driving. Catchings was arrested again on Dec. 29 and charged with domestic assault after allegedly striking his mother-in-law.
Because the internal affairs investigation into Meadows is a fact-finding mission rather than an investigation into a specific allegation, he has not been placed on administrative leave and remains on active duty.
The police department’s code of conduct requires all employees to avoid interactions with people who have a reputation for being criminals.
“Employees shall avoid associations or dealings with persons whom they know are under criminal investigation or criminal indictment or who have a reputation in the community or the Department for present involvement in felonious or criminal behavior,” the policy reads, “except as necessary to the performance of official duties or where unavoidable because of other personal relationships of the employee.”
Contact staff reporter Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or firstname.lastname@example.org with tips or story ideas.