MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The investigation into the shooting death of Memphis Police Officer Martoiya Lang is about to get really quiet.
At a scheduled report date for defendant Treveno Campbell on Monday, Judge James Beasley issued a gag order in the case.
Dozens of potential witnesses, including Memphis police officers and Police Director Toney Armstrong, filed into the courtroom in what would become three phases, as Beasley explained his intentions to enter the order.
“This court orders the following individuals from making extra-judicial statements,” he said. He then proceeded to read a list of names and entities, including the defendants, attorneys, MPD, TBI, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and others.
After explaining the gag order in legal terms, Beasley later clarified to the packed courtroom by saying, “Basically what this means is you’re not allowed to talk about this case.” He explained this extended to things like blogs and social media.
One reason for the gag order is because of high-profile media coverage that could possibly taint a potential juror’s view.
“The court has learned that the defendant, Treveno Campbell, was approached by someone claiming to be a news reporter and asked him to comment on the case outside the presence of counsel,” Beasley said.
The judge said he’s been meeting with attorneys involved in the case and also pointed to new developments.
“Given that the recent coverage of this case related to the credibility of certain witnesses, the ongoing investigation of this matter may reveal information which either is inadmissible or irrelevant, and given such information has the potential to affect a potential jury’s ability to try the issues in this case.”
He’s referring to the two Memphis Police officers connected to the case who were recently suspended with pay pending the outcome of a TBI probe into the investigation.
Complying with the just-issued gag order, Defense Attorney Bill Massey simply confirmed his opposition to the order and reafffirmed his client’s claim of innocence as he walked out.
The case had been set for trial, but that was postponed when the TBI got involved last month.
Co-defendant Willie Braddock was also in the courtroom. He wasn’t accused of being the shooter, but rather he was charged with drug offenses. Braddock has been out on bond.
The next report date in this case is set for Nov. 30.
Beasley said he plans to set a trial date as soon as possible.