Charges against former Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Charles Van Morgan dismissed

Charges against former Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Charles Van Morgan, who was arrested last year and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and interference with election laws, according to court records, have been dropped.

The charges were dropped June 26, according to Hamilton County Criminal Court records.

The Hamilton County District Attorney's Office did not respond to an email from the Chattanooga Times Free Press asking about the reasons for the dismissal.

Van Morgan was campaigning Oct. 24, 2022, at the Hamilton County Election Commission grounds when voters complained to commission employees shortly after 11:30 a.m. that he was harassing them and they did not feel safe, according to a sworn affidavit from the Chattanooga Police Department.

Responding officers arrived and reportedly saw Van Morgan "yelling" at those who turned out to vote, according to the affidavit.

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Van Morgan was then approached by the officers, who said they needed to speak to him, when, according to the affidavit, he yelled, "arrest me" to the officers.

"They effected a violent arrest that put me in the hospital," Van Morgan said via phone to the Times Free Press on Tuesday. "I'm fine now ... I don't hold any ill will. Those policemen should learn a lesson. They made a mistake."

In January, Van Morgan filed a $4 million federal lawsuit, claiming four Election Commission employees prevented him from exercising his right to free speech by having him arrested, a lawsuit he said was never about the money, but about justice.

"I am honored to be arrested," Van Morgan said on Tuesday. "I stand in the same position as Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Lester Roloff and on... we could go on about people that were arrested wrongfully to get a message (across), which is that the state government in Tennessee is crooked as hell, and we need to vote to get them out."

Van Morgan's lawsuit against Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp, Election Commission officials and the two Chattanooga police officers who arrested him was dismissed April 10, according to the federal court database.

Van Morgan, who ran as an independent, finished sixth in balloting last November with just over 1,800 votes, according to figures from the Tennessee secretary of state's website. Incumbent Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, won a second term with just over 1.1 million votes. Democrat Jason Martin was second with nearly 573,000 votes.

  photo  Hamilton County Sheriff's Office / Charles Van Morgan

Contact La Shawn Pagán at [email protected] or 423-757-6476.