Lawsuit says public officials were bribed for body cam contracts

Lawsuit alleges public officials were bribed for body cam contracts
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The company providing the city of Memphis with body cameras is facing hefty allegations.

A new lawsuit claims TASER International bribed public officials to win contracts.

Months ago, the City of Memphis had an officer demonstrate new TASER Incorporated body cameras, but no one is discussing a new lawsuit that claims that company used bribes to win contracts with nearly a dozen cities, including Memphis.

Memphis is reportedly mentioned 19 times in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of TASER competitor Digital Ally.

Also said to be mentioned by name in the suit is former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's campaign manager Deidre Malone.

Controversy arose when Malone's PR company was awarded a $900,000 contract to promote TASER cameras in Memphis.

That contract was terminated after criticism, including from then-mayoral candidate Jim Strickland.

"I don't think the paid campaign manager for the incumbent mayor should be contracting with the city to do public relations," Strickland said.

A release on Digital Ally's website reads, in part:

"The questionable actions TASER has taken in shutting out competition and procuring no-bid contracts hurt both the taxpayers and the law enforcement agencies by wasting money and depriving the agencies of the best possible technology."

So far, neither body nor dash cameras bought from TASER have been fully implemented in Memphis and current or former Memphis officials are not commenting on the lawsuit.

Deidre Malone said she has not been contacted directly about the lawsuit, but said she has "nothing to hide."

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.