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VOL. 131 | NO. 65 | Thursday, March 31, 2016

Officer Involved in Darrius Stewart Shooting is Retiring

By Bill Dries

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The city of Memphis pension board granted a line-of-duty disability retirement Thursday, March 31, to Memphis police officer Connor Schilling.

Schilling is the officer who shot and fatally wounded Darrius Stewart in July during a traffic stop in Hickory Hill.

Reaction to Stewart’s death and questions about the incident led to a policy of referring all fatal police encounters to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation instead of internal police investigations.

The TBI report on Stewart’s death raised questions about whether Stewart was trying to move away from Schilling when he was shot a second time.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich recommended that Schilling be charged with voluntary manslaughter. But the TBI presented the case to a grand jury, and because grand jury proceedings are secret, there has never been a definitive answer on whether the panel heard her recommendation.

The grand jury decided there would be no charges against Schilling.

Police brass planned an administrative hearing to determine if Schilling broke any department policies.

That was delayed when Schilling filed a notice that he was under a doctor’s care.

Two doctors told the city pension board that Schilling is disabled either emotionally or physically leading to the decision to grant his disability retirement request.

“This retirement was granted by the pension board, because it is required under the city’s pension laws based on the recommendation of two doctors,” city Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen said in a written statement.

Because Schilling’s retirement has been granted, McMullen said police cannot hold an administrative hearing.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is a member of the pension board, but he did not participate in Thursday’s decision, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

Schilling was a police officer for three years and nine months. His retirement is effective Friday. He will be paid approximately $29,588 a year in retirement.

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