America First Legal (AFL) filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, accusing them of unlawfully withholding records connected to the deadly March 27 school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.
The records in question include the manifesto of the shooter, Audrey Hale, who took the lives of six people, including three children, at The Covenant School, a private Christian school.
The lawsuit comes after Metro Nashville Police Department denied a request from Michael Patrick Leahy, a journalist from Star News Digital Media, Inc., who sought the release of Hale’s manifesto and autopsy report on April 24, 2023.
The Police Department declined the request, stating an ongoing criminal investigation as the reason.
Despite initially announcing on April 27, 2023, that they would be releasing the records, the Police Department made an abrupt reversal on May 3, 2023.
Via Twitter, they stated that they would not be releasing the records due to lawsuits requesting the release.
In the lawsuit, AFL argues that the Police Department’s claims of an ongoing criminal investigation are unfounded, as there is no continuing investigation into the deceased Audrey Hale, who died in an exchange of gunfire captured on video by police body cams.
AFL is demanding the immediate release of the requested records, asserting that it is a legal requirement and that the public deserves transparency regarding Hale’s planned attack.
Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel, issued a statement on the matter: “A deranged transgender psychopath took six innocent lives and struck at the heart of a tight-knit community. While we grieve for the families and pray for God’s peace, righteousness, and perfect justice to prevail upon all affected by this horrible situation, the fact remains that the public has a right to see these documents. This is not the time for gamesmanship for ideological reasons—and we will fight to help our client obtain the documents he requested and is entitled to under the law.”
The lawsuit marks a contentious point in the ongoing debate over the public’s right to know and the protection of sensitive information.
As the case progresses, it is expected to test the boundaries of the Public Records Act and its implications on public transparency.
AFL was started by former aide to President Donald Trump, Stephen Miller.