NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Senate voted unanimously today to make TBI investigative records around officer-involved shooting deaths public. The bill is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, and Representative G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis.
“I would submit that there is no greater government action than the taking of a life and no more legitimate public interest in government-produced information,” Senator Lee Harris said. “We shouldn’t keep these records confidential from the public after the investigation and prosecution are concluded.”
Tennessee public records law currently exempts all TBI investigative records from public disclosure, thus making them confidential. These records are generally only disclosed to the public with a court order. The bill provides that TBI investigative records around officer-involved shooting deaths are made public after the investigation and prosecution are completed.
Speaking in support of the bill on the Senate floor, Senator Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, stated, “We need to make this information public to exonerate law enforcement officers who are at times wrongfully accused of wrongdoing, and we need to make this information public when there is wrongdoing so the public will have confidence in our law enforcement.”
The bill is set to be heard on the House floor on April 24, 2017.