Brian Kelsey and John Gillespie File Bill to Allow Police in Tennessee to Chase Criminals


Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Memphis) and State Representative John Gillespie (R-Memphis) on Wednesday filed legislation that they said would, if enacted into law, protect police officers’ best interests.

Specifically, Kelsey and Gillespie said the bill would protect police officers from liability for injuries to a third party caused during a police pursuit. This is provided that the police officers’ conduct is not grossly negligent.

Kelsey, in an emailed statement, said current Tennessee law discourages police officers from pursuing dangerous criminals. Kelsey represents Memphis. He said that police officers should protect citizens as that city continues to experience record-breaking crime rates — as long as those police officers act reasonably.

Gillespie, meanwhile, said the proposed legislation protects law enforcement officers who follow proper policies and procedures as they pursue a fleeing suspect.

Memphis set a record for homicides in a single year in December, surpassing 300. That number topped 2020’s record number of homicides as violent crime spikes nationwide.

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) reported that month that the city had a violent Christmas Eve and a violent Christmas Day, including four homicides.

Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee recently gathered with Memphis stakeholders and announced the “Better Community Summit,” they said, to reduce violent crime.

Beginning in 2022, organizers are scheduled to hold four workshops in the areas of North Memphis, Whitehaven/Westwood, Hickory Hill/East Memphis, and Orange Mound/South Memphis.

Last fall, members of Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) called upon Metro Nashville Police (MNPD) to document all uses of “soft empty-hand control” techniques.

The MNPD manual defines “soft empty-hand control” as using physical strength to control people who resist arrest. The manual goes on to say that these techniques include pain compliance pressure points, controlled takedowns, joint manipulation, or simply grabbing a subject.

COB members said they want the MNPD to provide the number of uses of force incidents where soft empty-hand control is the highest force used and there is no allegation of injury.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Sen. Brian Kelsey” by Sen. Brian Kelsey. Photo “Rep. John Gillespie” by Rep. John Gillespie.





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One Thought to “Brian Kelsey and John Gillespie File Bill to Allow Police in Tennessee to Chase Criminals”

  1. 83ragtop50

    What an amazing thought – police offices would be given permission to actually chase criminals! But how are the criminals going to get “justice” if they cannot get away in order to commit more crimes. I figure the head police honchos in Nashville and Memphis are really upset with this proposed bill.