- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015
White Memphis officer cleared in shooting of black teen

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A white police officer was cleared by a grand jury Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black man during a fight at a traffic stop, but a lawyer for the man’s family says he will seek a federal civil rights investigation.

Jurors rejected Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich’s recommendation that they indict the officer on charges of voluntary manslaughter and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, Weirich said. Weirich refused to elaborate on what led her to make her recommendation.

Police have said previously that Darrius Stewart was a passenger in a car stopped by the officer July 17 for a headlight violation. Stewart was placed in the back of a squad car without handcuffs as the officer checked on active warrants for him, authorities said.

Officer Connor Schilling returned to the squad car to arrest and handcuff Stewart after a warrant was verified, and Stewart kicked the door and attacked the officer, beating Schilling with the handcuffs, police said.

Schilling shot Stewart with his duty weapon during the struggle, police said. Stewart died of two gunshot wounds at a hospital, a medical examiner found. Schilling had been relieved of duty - a routine procedure - pending the outcome of the investigation.

Carlos Moore, an attorney representing Stewart’s father, Henry Williams, demanded at a news conference that federal authorities conduct a civil rights investigation into Stewart’s death and said Schilling should either resign or be fired.


VW opposes union deal for maintenance workers at Tenn. plant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Attorneys for Volkswagen’s lone U.S. factory in Tennessee are arguing against an effort by a small group of workers at the plant to hold a union election.

Maintenance workers take up about 160 out of 1,400 blue collar positions at the Chattanooga assembly plant. They have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to schedule a vote for them to be represented by the United Auto Workers.

But at an NLRB hearing in Chattanooga on Tuesday, the German automaker’s lawyers argued that the maintenance workers’ role at the plant is not sufficiently distinct from the remaining hourly employees to justify the creation of their own collective bargaining unit.

Hourly workers at the plant last year voted 712-626 against UAW representation following heavy campaigning by anti-labor politicians and groups.


18-year-old charged with criminal homicide in teen’s death

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Nashville teenager has been charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of a 14-year-old following a disagreement involving a group of teenage girls.

Police said 18-year-old Antwana Smith was charged Tuesday in the death of 14-year-old Treyonta Burleson outside an apartment complex.

Police said Smith allegedly fired at Burleson after a statement was made that Smith said disrespected her family.

Burleson was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Police said in a news release that Smith retreated inside an apartment but complied with officers’ commands to surrender and was taken into custody.


Judge quashes subpoenas to witnesses in ex-Vols’ rape case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former University of Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams face a hurdle in their attempts to obtain social media communications from witnesses for their upcoming rape trials.

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee granted the state’s motion Tuesday to quash subpoenas that were issued to those witnesses, including the woman who says the men raped her.

McGee previously said lawyers for the two could obtain certain witness cellphone and social media communications. In his ruling Tuesday, McGee said defense lawyers still can try obtaining those communications from service providers, but not from the witnesses themselves.

Williams’ trial date has been delayed multiple times over the issue. A new trial date hasn’t been set. Johnson’s trial is scheduled for June 27. Each faces two counts of aggravated rape.

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