TN lawmakers plan to push for new law on TBI involvement in deadly officer shootings

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When Tennessee's legislature reconvenes next year, state Rep. G. A. Hardaway said he wants the handling of deadly police shootings to be on the agenda.

"It will be addressed in this legislation.

Transparency is what is important in this community," Hardaway said.

Hardaway said he and Rep. John DeBerry are sponsoring the bill in the House and state Sen. Brian Kelsey is sponsoring it in the Senate.

Not only would the bill mandate that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation automatically take over all officer-involved fatal shootings, but it would also spell out how TBI's findings are released.

Hardaway said if cases are prosecuted, the information will come out in court.

If not, there will be a plan to get certain information released through a special board, the district attorney or the TBI itself.

"One of the goals of the legislation is to make sure that citizens have confidence that justice will be served," he said.

Locally, the revived Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board is hoping it can help too by making recommendations for the City Council or mayor to act on.

"We can make recommendations, and we keep a track record. If we have a particular officer that has 10 charges against him for the same thing, there is something that needs to be done," CLERB member David Acey said.

He said it can work in the officer's favor if he or she is falsely accused.

The CLERB chair, Rev. Ralph White, said that as it stands now, unless laws are changed, transparency remains clouded especially after last weekend's deadly police shooting in Memphis.

"We don't know what the ramifications will be," he said. "We do know that there are people who are upset, people who are still asking questions from an administration that says we don't have any answers for your questions. Case closed."

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