After Tyre Nichols’ death, Memphis passes police reforms
Written by ABC Audio. All rights reserved. on March 8, 2023
(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — The Memphis City Council passed new police reform policies two months after the death of Tyre Nichols, who died several days after a traffic stop with Memphis police that turned violent.
Body camera footage captured officers striking and beating Nichols repeatedly. His death has prompted protests and unrest across the country.
At the Tuesday meeting, City Council members voted to pass the new ordinances banning police from conducting routine traffic stops with unmarked vehicles, unless in special circumstances, as well as requiring officers to regularly submit data on traffic stops, arrests, use of force and complaints.
The policies also establish annual review procedures for the police academy and training.
Complaints involving police use of force and deaths or injuries of people while in police custody will now be required to go through an independent investigation.
In the meeting, City of Memphis Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Sink announced that internal investigations related to the Tyre Nichols’ case resulted in four Memphis Fire Department personnel being charged, and 13 Memphis Police Department personnel being charged.
According to Sink, these are not criminal investigations, but rather administrative investigations.
Seven officers involved in the incident have been fired.
Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said the department also has undergone reforms of its own.
“The last several weeks we have really taken a closer look into, not just our policy and procedures, but just best practices,” Davis said in the City Council meeting.
This includes more frequent and random audits of body worn cameras, enhancing radio communications, creating a selection criteria for special assignments and enhancing the protocol for response to critical incidents.
The move came one day before the Justice Department confirmed it has launched a review into the Memphis Police Department’s use-of-force and de-escalation policies, along with a separate review of specialized police units deployed in cities across the country.
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