Officer Sean Bolton
The shooting death last week of Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton has done more than cast a pall of grief over Memphis and the Mid-South and contribute to a spate of news headlines and broadcast bulletins.
It has also caused the suspension of potentially controversial actions by both the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.
On Tuesday, the Council had been slated to act on a revamped Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board with investigatory powers over controversial actions by the MPD.
But the Council decided to postpone its vote until after the forthcoming October 8th election, citing the climate of uneasiness and mourning both for Officer Bolton, who was slain last week while conducting a traffic stop that apparently interrupted a drug deal under way, and for Darrius Stewart, an African-American youth who died recently at the hands of police in the course, ironically, of another traffic stop.
And on Wednesday, the County Commission’s general government committee opted to put off indefinitely its scheduled vote on a resolution endorsing the Council’s ongoing intent to remove a statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park (formerly Forrest Park) downtown.
Van Turner, chairman of the general government committee, said committee members had decided the current atmosphere was not a propitious time to consider so controversial a move, especially since the Commission has no direct oversight over the park.
He indicated, however, that the Commission might take some future action regarding the Forrest matter.
Meanwhile, Governor Bill Haslam, in town for a Chamber of Commerce function, indicated he would stay around later than expected on Wednesday to take part in pre-funeral visitation for Officer Bolton.