Man charged with killing Memphis officer says he is indigent
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - An ex-convict charged with fatally shooting a Memphis police officer during a struggle told a judge Wednesday that he is indigent and he was appointed a public defender.
Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, is being held on $10 million bond on a first-degree murder charge in the Aug. 1 death of Officer Sean Bolton. During a brief court hearing, he did not enter a plea.
Police said Bolton interrupted a drug deal in a 2002 Mercedes Benz and Wilbourn got out of the car, confronted the officer, and they got into a physical struggle. Wilbourn took out a gun and shot Bolton multiple times, police said. He fled, leading to a two-day manhunt.
Wilbourn’s sister, Callie Watkins, told The Associated Press last week that her brother told her over the telephone after the shooting that he was forcibly pulled out of a car by Bolton.
Watkins said her brother described the officer putting Wilbourn in a hold and telling him to put his arms up. But, she said, Wilbourn told the officer that he couldn’t because his arms were restrained. That’s when the scuffle escalated, she said.
“He needed to defend himself,” said Watkins, who has the same mother as her brother but different fathers. “It’s self-defense against an aggressive officer. It was kill or be killed.”
Detroit newspaper wins appeal over getting federal mug shots
DETROIT (AP) - The government must release mug shots of federal criminal defendants in Michigan and three other states, an appeals panel said Wednesday in a clash over privacy and public records.
A three-judge panel at a federal appeals court said it must follow a 1996 decision that released photos to the Detroit Free Press in a similar dispute. Nonetheless, it also encouraged the U.S. Justice Department to keep fighting.
The panel suggested the government should ask the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take a new look at the 1996 precedent, especially in the Internet age.
“We question the … conclusion that defendants have no interest in preventing the public release of their booking photographs during ongoing criminal proceedings,” said judges Ralph Guy Jr., Deborah Cook and David McKeague.
The federal Freedom of Information Act says the government can reject a records request if the material could “constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.”
“Booking photographs convey the sort of potentially embarrassing or harmful information protected by the exemption,” the court said.
Biden to attend memorial service for shooting victims
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden will attend an upcoming ceremony in remembrance of four Marines and a sailor who were killed in attacks at two military facilities in Chattanooga.
Officials said in a statement that Biden will join Defense Secretary Ash Carter, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke at the memorial service on Aug. 15. The ceremony at McKenzie Arena to honor the five service members will begin at 2 p.m.
The gunman, 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, was killed by police officers who responded to the shootings.
Tennessee recording fewer traffic deaths so far this year
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Highway Patrol says fewer traffic-related deaths are being reported on roadways so far this year.
WBIR-TV (https://on.wbir.com/1IFItTQ) reports that that as of Aug. 11, there had been 50 fewer deaths than reported last year in the same time frame. The THP says the state is on track to have fewer traffic deaths than it recorded in 1963.
Data from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Department of Transportation show there were 961 traffic deaths in Tennessee in 2014. That’s 35 fewer than in 2013, when 995 fatalities were recorded.
“If that trend continues, yes, it will be the safest year on record,” THP Lt. Don Boshears said. “We hope it does.”
He said THP programs including predictive crash analytics and educational events seem to be contributing to the decrease.
“We use crash data to schedule sobriety checkpoints, DL checkpoints, seat belts,” Boshears said. “It’s all done on crash data, past data. We’d also like to think the education side is (contributing), too. Anybody we can talk to about seat belts, distraction, impairment. We’re trying to educate the public and trying to get them not to do those type of things.”
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