Several news outlets, including The Tennessean, have argued that the documents are required to be released under state public records laws and have warned of a violation of First Amendment protections.
The Tennessee Firearms Association and former Tennessee County Sheriff James Hammond are among outside law enforcement groups and governors who also cited a violation of the state’s public records law in filing for the release of the records, echoing the argument that it is important to know more about the motive before the special legislative session. .
On Monday, their attorneys argued that Covenant School, as a private school, cannot claim school safety waivers under the Public Records Act. They also questioned whether the group of parents had the legal capacity to intervene in the case, or deserved the protection afforded to victims of crime.
Most of the parents have not identified themselves publicly as part of the lawsuits, and their attorneys have indicated that many would like to remain anonymous if the case goes forward.
Law enforcement officials in Nashville argued that prematurely releasing the writings would impair the ongoing investigation; Until now they believe the shooter, who was killed by the police at the school, acted alone. The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, in a separate court filing, did not object to the issuance of a redacted set of the shooter’s writings, despite hiring Counsel Miles of Davidson County to review what one city attorney called a “massive” piece of evidence.
Lieutenant Brent Gibson, the officer overseeing the investigation, estimated in a court filing that it would take a year for the police department to finish its work, warning that “firing any of the puzzle pieces too quickly could jeopardize putting this complex puzzle together.” He added that the agency needed to Call up many records, such as message data and internet search history, and finish her interviews.
Counselor Miles is set to continue to review documents and evidence in police possession, as well as past cases in Tennessee, before making her decision on whether parents have the legal right to intervene.
“My goal is to make sure that whatever needs to get out can get out in a way that protects everyone involved, but also allows for open access,” she said.