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MPD Director: Mayor Played "No Role" In Officer's Status

A day after tough talk from the Mayor of Memphis, the Memphis Police officer who shot and killed a 15-year-old in September is back off this job.
MEMPHIS, TN -- A day after tough talk from the Mayor of  Memphis, the Memphis Police officer who shot and killed a 15-year-old in September is back off this job.

"There were some other things that happened that I can't speak on tonight," Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Thursday night.

Officer Terrence Shaw returned to work on Saturday, nearly 2 1/2 months after he was placed on paid leave following the shooting death of Justin Thompson. He was on non-enforcement duty, which means he didn't carry a gun, and couldn't arrest anyone.

"We felt it would be better, the best use of taxpayer dollars to bring him back and have him work in some capacity." Director Armstrong said.

"Let me just make it clear to you, I always shoot you straight, I didn't know he was going to be returned." said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday, Director Armstrong said he sat down with Mayor Wharton earlier in the day. He said that meeting had nothing to do with removing Shaw.

"Absolutely not, No. None at all." Director Armstrong said.

Earlier Thursday, a memo by Chief Administrative Officer George Little to Mayor Wharton laid out the city's investigation.

"The preliminary review of the shooting did not give any prima facie indication that MPD administrative policies had been violated. There would have been administrative policy violations if there was an indication of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Officer Shaw." Little wrote.

"In the absence of findings by TBI of violations of the law there are no pending administrative charges against Officer Shaw. It is my understanding that this served at least in part as the basis for placing Officer Shaw in a non-enforcement post. The alternative would have been to leave him off-duty with pay." he added.

Before the memo was released, Wharton said having Shaw back at work created a perception issue.

"We want to make sure we are sending the right signals to the community," the Mayor said Wednesday. "I am not going to pass any judgement, especially an opinion, until I find out precisely what happened."

On Thursday night, Director Armstrong said he and the Mayor needed to do a better job communicating. He said the Mayor and him agreed to carve out time in their schedules for weekly face-to-face meetings.

"There are so many things that we miscomunicate on, certainly it is my job to keep him informed on everything, but again, we move at such fast paces, sometimes things get by both of us," Armstrong said. "But I think moving forward, with us being able to carve time out and have face to face time, on a weekly basis, we will only improve things."

In him memo to the Mayor, the city's top administrator seemed to agree.

"I trust the foregoing serves to enlighten you and the public regarding the details of this particular case. In the future, as you have requested, a full explanation of details will be given in advance of or simultaneous to actions taken in similar cases." Little wrote to the Mayor.

Shaw remains the focus of an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. Director Armstrong said on Thursday night that he didn't have a timeline of when that investigation may be wrapped up.
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