City leaders blame previous administration for loft goals for body cameras

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Getting it right appeared to be Mayor Jim Strickland's main reason for not rolling out police body cameras next week as scheduled.

The community has called for the cameras and former Mayor A C Wharton had promised them for years.

“The promises made could not be kept. The time deadline given was not unrealistic,” said Strickland.

“I can't speculate on what the old administration was thinking. I can only deal with the cards I was dealt," he added.

Strickland’s claim that he couldn’t explain any decisions before he became mayor and that he didn’t have a timeline for the cameras angered some camera supporters who said Strickland was there, as Chair of the City Council.

“The day it was added to the budget, these groups should have started looking into this. We should be able to at least give a deadline,” said John Marek.

Police Director Toney Armstrong and District Attorney General Amy Weirich were part of the body camera discussion from Wharton, but they too said Wharton's timeline just could never be reached.

“This was an ambitious project. The deadlines were set unreasonable. We worked to meet those deadlines but there were a lot of things not taken into consideration,” said Armstrong.

“These are pieces of evidence not entertainment for everyone's at home viewing,” added Weirich.

Calls to  former Mayor Wharton and some of his top administrators were not returned.

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