Federal judge issues ruling to change decades-old consent decree for Memphis police

Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:34 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After years of debate, a federal judge issues a ruling in a decades-old consent decree involving the Memphis Police Department.

The judge ruled in favor of changing a 1978 court order prohibiting police from monitoring the political activities of citizens. The change now allows police to monitor social media for legitimate law enforcement purposes.

But says officers cannot create fake accounts to surveil people exercising their first amendment right.

In 2018, a judge ruled the department violated the decree by using a fake account to spy on activists.

For the past two years, the city of Memphis and the ACLU have been negotiating and collecting input on how to modify the decree.

The ACLU, who originally filed the lawsuit, says the judge’s ruling helps reinforce that Memphians have the right to engage in political speech without fear of unwarranted police monitoring.

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