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The Week in Review

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The next phase in the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest presence at Health Sciences Park got underway amid tension last week as workers began removing the pedestal upon which the equestrian statue of Forrest sat until it was toppled in December 2017.

Eventually, the remains of Forrest and his wife will be disinterred from beneath the pedestal and moved to a Confederate-themed park in Columbia, Tennessee.

But the work little more than got started before a confrontation occurred between one of the workers and Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who led the effort to bring down the Forrest statue. After a tense exchange at the site, misdemeanor charges were eventually filed against the worker and, by week’s end, a warrant had been issued amid growing calls for tougher action.

Also last week, problems with the closed Hernando DeSoto Bridge were in the spotlight as U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came to the city to meet with transportation leaders and public officials. Buttigieg saw first-hand the work being done on the bridge and said the decision on whether a third bridge should be built to span the Mississippi at Memphis is a local call.

And finally, the remaining defendant in the Lorenzen Wright murder case, Billy Ray Turner, got a new trial date of Jan. 31, 2022. — Metro editor Ron Maxey

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The process of relocating the remains of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife began Tuesday at Health Sciences Park. The scene quickly became tense after workers put up Confederate flags around the site and began dumping debris on the letters of a Black Lives Matter mural around the monument. 

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The nation’s transportation secretary heard from freight executives about the effects of the closed I-40 bridge, fielded their suggestions and left to tour the repair work site on Hernando DeSoto Bridge.

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Third bridge idea ‘long term,’ takes back seat to repairs

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Meanwhile, a City Council member who is term limited said he may be on the 2022 ballot for Shelby County Commission and an incumbent commissioner says he will probably seek another term.

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MPD veteran Don Crowe has been promoted to assistant police chief. He will be second in command under new Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, who starts June 14. 

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Turner’s case was one of hundreds delayed when the coronavirus pandemic shut down Shelby County Criminal Court trials last year.

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Police issued an arrest warrant Friday, June 4, on a charge of assault against the crew worker who berated and threatened Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer Tuesday in Health Sciences Park. 

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The path of the two budget seasons and the use of federal funds to close financial gaps — plus other topics — are the focus of a reporters roundtable on “Behind The Headlines.”

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Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan ruled state prosecutors can hire an expert in the Pervis Payne case to determine if the death row inmate an intellectual disability.

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Police programs created to build public trust are a 'bait and switch', critics say

Police bodycam programs were created to promote transparency and build public trust, yet high costs and long waits for heavily edited footage makes those programs a ‘bait and switch,’ critics say.

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Critics advocate reforms to limit bodycam fees and redactions

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