Authored by Chase Smith via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) has reversed course from a previous statement to The Epoch Times, when the agency said the so-called manifesto and writings of Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale would be released to the public soon.
The department cited the advice of legal counsel amid litigation filed this week for those same documents to be released.
The Epoch Times contacted MNPD on May 3, but officials would not comment, citing the pending litigation. The story regarding MNPD readying the documents for public release was published April 27.
On May 1, the Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) filed a lawsuit against MNPD over a previously denied public records request for the Hale documents to be released. The Epoch Times reached out to TFA regarding the new delay of the release of the documents.
“Officially, no comment in my role as an attorney,” John Harris III, an attorney with Schulman Leroy & Bennett and the executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said in an email to The Epoch Times.
An Epoch Times reporter based outside of Tennessee had their request for the same records denied because they were not a Tennessee resident. Another Epoch Times reporter located within Tennessee also received a denial letter from MNPD’s Central Records Division on April 19, citing the investigation still being open.
“Your request is denied based on the following grounds,” the denial letter from MNPD stated. “The following … law prohibits the release of the requested records: Open Cases—Rule 16 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure and Tennessean v. Metro. Gov’t of Nashville.”
While MNPD declined to comment on the seeming change in direction from the previous interview with The Epoch Times, the department posted a brief statement on Twitter.
“Covenant investigation update: Due to pending litigation filed this week, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department has been advised by counsel to hold in abeyance the release of records related to the shooting at The Covenant School pending orders or direction of the court,” MNPD posted on Twitter.
A further public records request for the autopsy of Audrey Hale by The Epoch Times was approved, pending the report being completed, with a timeline of “8–12 weeks from the date of death for case completion.”
TFA did not comment to The Epoch Times on the pending litigation, but Harris did release a comment to The Tennessean newspaper.
“The (MNPD’s) denial failed to identify any underlying criminal proceeding, or even potential defendant, such that the requested materials would be a ‘case’ under Rule 16 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Proceeding,” Harris said, according to The Tennessean.
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