MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former Memphis Police lieutenant who pleaded guilty last year to official misconduct after he was accused of sleeping with a witness had the charge wiped from his record Wednesday.
Attorneys for Eric Kelly filed to expunge the charge Wednesday. They said Kelly has completed the terms of his judicial diversion by keeping a clean criminal record for one year. A judge signed the order Wednesday afternoon.
Kelly was accused of having a sexual relationship with a homicide suspect he was investigating in 2018. Documents uncovered by WREG show he admitted to getting marijuana for the woman, and gave her more than $2,000 during their relationship as she became a stripper at the Gold Club. The district attorney’s office also said Kelly used city funds to take the woman out of town with him on an investigative trip.
He pleaded guilty to official misconduct last September.
According to his personnel file, Kelly had been accused of violating policy around 40 different times — even losing his job once, before appealing to the Civil Service Commission to get it back.
The district attorney’s office assigned a senior prosecutor to review every closed case Kelly had worked, though prosecutors said they found nothing questionable.
Kelly had faced separate charges of stalking and harassing a woman, but court records show that case was dropped in July.
Kelly greeted WREG’s cameras in the courtroom Wednesday by giving us the finger. We tried to ask him for comment but he dodged our questions.
A year ago, WREG submitted an open records request to review the district attorney’s file on the case but we were told, per state law, we would have to wait a year before we would have access.
Wednesday marked one year.
We submitted another request early Wednesday morning to view the records. But we were told since the judge signed off on the expungement, the records are now “classified as confidential” and can only be used “for law enforcement purposes.”
That means they are secret. We will never know what evidence was collected in the criminal case.
Kelly retired from the Memphis Police Department at the rank of lieutenant in 2019. Since he wasn’t fired, he is allowed to keep his pension. He quit before MPD finished its internal investigation.
Since Kelly’s case made headlines, officials have cried out for more transparency to help build a better relationship between the community and police. The mayor and MPD have promised they’re working on it.
But Wednesday, Kelly walked away from a case that, no doubt, he won.