Tennessee Democratic lawmaker charged with assault, theft

July 19, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Democratic state lawmaker accused of assaulting his ex-boyfriend was arrested Sunday and is facing charges of misdemeanor assault and felony theft.

According to an affidavit, Rep. Torrey Harris of Memphis allegedly assaulted his ex-boyfriend in Nashville on Thursday. The victim told police that the two began talking about their relationship when Harris dropped off his dog after taking care of it for a few days.

The victim said that when he attempted to leave his apartment, Harris “stood in front of him and put his hands on Terrence’s upper arms to prevent him from leaving” and the victim “sustained a scratch to his arm,” according to the affidavit.

The victim then left his apartment and came back when police were present. During that time, the victim said his dog, a Macbook Air, Playstation 5, a barstool, lamps, shoes, airpods, and Apple watch and a TV mount were missing. When officers contacted Harris, the lawmaker said that he had the dog and also that he had the items because he had bought them as gifts.

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Harris, 31, said in a statement that he has retained legal counsel and is cooperating with the investigation.

“I maintain my innocence and will plead not guilty to the charges,” he said. “I know that at the end of this I will be cleared of all allegations.”

Davidson County Sheriff’s Office records show that Harris was arrested Sunday and released from jail early Monday morning. His first court date is set for Oct. 10.

Harris was elected to Tennessee’s House of Representatives in 2020, where he was one of the first two openly LGBTQ lawmakers to be voted into the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly. His district was dissolved due to redistricting and he is now running for an open seat in House District 91 against Barbara Farmer-Tolbert.