MEMPHIS, Tennessee — A judge on Monday ordered lawyers, witnesses and law enforcement officials to refrain from speaking to the press or making comments on social media in the case of a man charged with fatally shooting a Memphis police officer.
Shelby County Criminal Court Judge James Beasley said all participants in the upcoming trial of Treveno Campbell are barred from making comments outside of court to the print or broadcast media, starting immediately.
Campbell, 24, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Officer Martoiya Lang in December 2012. Authorities say Lang was killed and another officer was injured when police entered a home where drug trafficking was suspected, and a suspect inside the house opened fire with a 9mm pistol with a high-capacity magazine. Campbell was shot during the raid.
The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday, but it was postponed. A new trial date has not been set.
Beasley said comments made to the media could prejudice the trial proceedings. The judge said he had several meetings with lawyers in the case before deciding to issue the order.
"It's something I've thought long and hard about," Beasley told three dozen police officers and other witnesses who were in the courtroom. "It's necessary."
Beasley cited local and national media coverage as a factor in his ruling. The judge said Campbell had been approached by someone who claimed to be a news reporter and asked for comments.
Those who fall under the order include witnesses, lawyers on both sides of the case, the district attorney and her staff, court staff and law enforcement officials — including members of the Memphis Police Department, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Beasley said. A violation of the order with be "dealt with appropriately," the judge said.
Lang, 32, was a mother of four children. She is one of four Memphis police officers to be fatally shot since July 2011.
Memphis police have said two officers involved in the investigation into Lang's shooting have been relieved of duty with pay as they are investigated by the TBI.