Federal judge denies city order to modify consent decree

Federal judge denies city order to modify consent decree

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A decades-old consent decree that bars the Memphis Police Department from gathering political intelligence will remain in place unchanged after a federal judge denied the city’s request to modify the decree.

The City of Memphis filed a sealed motion in federal court on Oct. 2 asking for the modification. Judge Jon McCalla issued the ruling Wednesday.

Back in August of 2018, a judge found the city in violation of the decree when Memphis Police Department used fake Facebook accounts to gain intelligence on political activists.

In September of 2018 Facebook issued a statement to MPD warning them of their use of fake accounts. The social media giant allegedly deleted at least six fake accounts used by MPD, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

MPD used fake 'Bob Smith' account to infiltrate Memphis activist groups

The city’s Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen believes the current decree prohibits law enforcement from effectively doing their job in today’s society. McMullen has previously said the decree could limit the ability of MPD to work with other agencies based on the type of information that would be shared.

The decree has not been modified since 1978.

McCalla’s ruling laid out specifics on how MPD should conduct police work while still adhering to the decree.

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