The Look in Brief

Tennessean sues Metro Nashville government over Covenant shooting records

By: - May 18, 2023 10:09 pm
A day after a mass shooting at The Covenant School, a woman is overcome with emotion in front of an impromptu memorial. (Photo: John Partipilo)

A day after the March 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School, a woman is overcome with emotion in front of an impromptu memorial. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The Tennessean, a Nashville-based regional newspaper, has sued Metro Nashville government in a bid for release of documents related to the March 27 shooting at Covenant School.

In addition to the Gannett-owned news outlet, plaintiffs include Tennessean reporter Rachel Wegner and state Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga.

According to the complaint, The Tennessean has filed multiple public records requests — some have been fulfilled, others denied — to the Metro Nashville Police Department to either view or obtain copies of documents in the Covenant case.

The suit centers on a motion to intervene in the records release process by the parents of Covenant School students and alleges that Metro Police “invited intervention” by communicating with the families of shooting victims, as well as school administrators and officials with Covenant Presbyterian church. Covenant School is affiliated with Covenant Presbyterian Church.

“The gist of the intervention motions is to object to the production by Metropolitan Government of records which the proposed intervenors perceive as having been requested by one or more TPRA requestors. The motions to intervene are, in essence, ‘reverse’ public records requests seeking to prohibit or enjoin the disclosure of public records,” states the suit.

Chancellor Anne Martin will hear the case. The Tennessean is asking for all motions to intervene be denied, as well as release of documents including shooter Audrey Hale’s diary and suicide note.

The Tennessean is one of several outlets what have requested documents pertaining to the shooting from Metro Police. Michael Patrick Leahy, of the conservative outlet, The Tennessee Star, has filed public records requests and 66 Republican members of the Tennessee General Assembly submitted a letter asking for same on Monday.

tennessean suit

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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.