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Sheriff’s office denies deputy pointed gun on Southwind High campus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is disputing a message sent to parents by a Memphis school administrator accusing one of their deputies of pointing a gun at people on campus.

The robocall message, sent by “Mr. Hardiman” at Southwind High School to parents at 4:30 Friday afternoon, stated that a group of students and parents had gotten into a fight at dismissal, and a county deputy responded after a parent called 911.

According to the message, “When the sheriff’s department deputy arrived on campus, he pointed his shotgun in the direction of the people who were fighting. … Trust me, I am very upset by the officer’s actions as well, and I let him know.”

He said the officer was acting independently, not at the direction of the school.

But the sheriff’s department, responding in a written statement Saturday, said that account wasn’t accurate.

They said an internal review of video records showed the deputy got out of his vehicle with a weapon, but kept it pointed up in the air, and not at anyone, while  dispersing the crowd.

The officer was being especially cautious because there had been an armed person call nearby the day before, the sheriff’s office said.

“In his message, Principal Hardiman stated as a ‘fact’ that the deputy pointed a shotgun in the direction of a group of individuals who were allegedly fighting. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office vehemently disputes this claim,” SCSO stated.

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