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Criminal justice advocate arrested in Nashville

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Posted at 6:12 PM, Jan 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 12:56:39-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Police say Alex Friedmann, a longtime criminal justice advocate and managing editor of Prison Legal News, has been charged with attempted burglary for breaking into the new Downtown Detention Center. He has also been charged with evidence tampering and possession of burglary tools.

He was arrested Saturday at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office Downtown Detention Center after entering the building fraudulently. Friedmann is free on bond.

On Monday, December 30, police said DCSO lieutenants were in the DDC control room and noticed a set of keys with a ring that looked different from the others. After an audit, it was confirmed two facility keys were missing.

Police say Friedmann allegedly dressed like a construction worker, wearing a yellow vest and dust mask. He was seen spray painting around the key control room door. He then entered the room and placed a key ring in his pocket, left the DDC through the front lobby, returned two hours later, and replaced the keys, again with two missing.

According to police, Friedmann was caught previously entering the building under false pretenses on at least three other occasions.

When officers arrested Friedman, they found an igloo cooler he was carrying into the facility contained bolt cutters and a document identified as schematics of the DDC. Police say Friedman was also seen on video trying to destroy this document by ripping it and chewing it up.

“The seriousness of Mr. Friedmann’s charges cannot be ignored. His actions have placed the safety and security of our entire community in peril, not to mention DCSO staff and inmates,” said Sheriff Daron Hall.

The investigation is ongoing. The newly-constructed detention center is a 762-bed, maximum security facility in its final stages of completion. It does not currently house inmates.