Rep. Torrey Harris, D-Memphis, at left, photographed by John Partipilo at the Tennessee Capitol.
State Rep. Torrey Harris was arrested Friday in Nashville on allegations of domestic assault and theft by a former romantic partner.
In a story first reported by Scoop Nashville, an online news outlet, Harris went to the apartment of his ex-boyfriend, Terence Nealy, to return a dog he had been watching for Nealy.
Once there, the Memphis Democrat initiated a discussion with Nealy and upon Nealy’s attempt to leave the apartment, Harris “bear hugged” him, causing Nealy to sustain a scratch to his arm.
Nealy called Metro Nashville Police, who returned to the apartment with him to find Harris gone — as well as gifts Harris had given to Nealy, including the dog, a MacBook Air, a Playstation 5 and some Nike shoes.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Harris said, in part: “I have retained legal counsel and myself and the team are working diligently to cooperate with the investigation. I maintain my innocence and will plead not guilty to the charges. I know that at the end of this I will be cleared of all allegations.
My focus will remain on serving the people as it always has been, but my ask is that if someone you know – loved one, friend, or neighbor is battling with mental health, that you help them as best as you can. Never deter from supporting those who need us even at their toughest moments.
As for me, I want to say thank you for all the calls and to those who have reached out during this time. This has been a lived example that will help me better help those I serve. Trust me, I have already noticed steps in policy that lawmakers like myself must work to improve throughout the justice system.
Over the next couple of weeks you will learn more about this matter and I Look forward to moving on after it is all said and done.”
Harris was elected in 2020, winning a three-way Democratic primary and defeating incumbent John DeBerry, who ran as an independent, in the November general election.
He faces opposition in the August 4 primary from Barbara Farmer-Tolbert, a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant.
Harris is a partner in Amplified Public Strategies, a political consulting group.
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