Whites, Weed, & Some Racist B.S. 

An old man got in big trouble for what he said on Facebook.

Pot law shot down

The city's new pot law is illegal, according to an opinion rendered last week by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery.

A new law passed here last month gave Memphis Police Department officers the choice of charging those caught with a half ounce or less of marijuana with a $50 ticket or the full state charge of up to a $2,500 fine and a year in jail.

But Slatery said in an opinion that, basically, city law cannot trump state law on drug crimes.

Memphis leaders suspended the issuance of civil tickets on weed possession. But some remain confident that the new city law will stand.

Racist out

A high-level county official resigned last week amid outrage over a series of racist posts to social media.

click to enlarge flyby_weekthatwasracist.jpg

David Barber, Deputy Director of the Shelby County Corrections Center, claimed in a recent Facebook status that the Ku Klux Klan was more American than President Barack Obama.

$10M computer glitch

A $10 million lawsuit was filed last week against those running the Shelby County Jail as justice has been delayed for numerous inmates who have been lost in the system following the implementation of a new computer system.

Officials have been installing new computer systems for the jail and the court system for the last two weeks. In that time, the jail population has climbed as the confusion caused by the switch-over has led to longer and unjust stays, according to Josh Spickler, executive director of Just City, a criminal justice advocacy reform organization.

Just City joined a class action lawsuit against Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham last week. But Spickler said the suit wasn't really about the money.

"Unfortunately, in a lawsuit you have to talk about money, but really, we want this problem fixed," Spickler said.

click to enlarge Just City’s Josh Spickler speaks to the press last week. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • Just City’s Josh Spickler speaks to the press last week.

Crime planned

Memphis-area leaders unveiled a new, five-year plan to reduce violent crime by 30 percent, property crime by 30 percent, and the overall crime rate here by 25 percent.

The third version of Operation: Safe Community will add more police officers to the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, strengthen neighborhood watch groups, expand data-driven policing, help ex-offenders stay out of criminal life, help juveniles avoid the criminal justice system, and more.

SURJ surges

A group of white folks gathered last week to discuss how they can fight the national and local trends of discrimination against people of color.

The newly formed Memphis chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) met at First Congregational Church. Its aim is simple — to take the burden of discussing complex issues around white supremacy off of black people. In doing so, the group hopes to facilitate conversation which, ideally, will result in unified political actions.

Weirich: evidence never delivered

Shelby County District Attorney General (SCDAG) Amy Weirich never saw nor knew about a key witness statement in the Noura Jackson murder case because the Memphis Police Department failed to deliver it to her.

That's the key takeaway from Weirich's response last week to a call for additional charges against her from the Tennessee Supreme Court's Office of Professional Responsibility.

That office has charged that Weirich hid crucial evidence in the Jackson murder case from Jackson's attorneys. Two weeks ago, the office called for additional charges against Weirich that said at worst, Weirich had actual knowledge of the witness statement and, at least, Weirich failed to fully familiarize herself with the Jackson case.

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