Friday, September 21, 2018

Strickland Asks For Trust On Banks' Shooting

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 11:13 AM

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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said he “completely backs” Memphis Police Department (MPD) director Michael Rallings’ decision to involve the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in the investigation of Martavious Banks’ shooting.


Strickland said at a Friday press conference that the administration is pledging its full cooperation with the investigation into the officer-involved shooting of Banks.


“The notion that cameras were turned off before the shooting is disturbing to me,” Strickland said. “It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and it will not be tolerated.”


While TBI is investigation the shooting itself, MPD is leading an internal investigation on the violation of the body-camera policy.

Typically, TBI will only step in when an officer-involved shooting is fatal. But when MPD realized there was a violation of department body-camera policy, Strickland said it was the right call to turn the investigation over to TBI.


At this point, Strickland said it is still unclear whether the officers never had their cameras on or if they were turned off. When asked if this was the result of a lack of officer training, Strickland said it’s not, but rather a lack of following the policy. He said the department needs to “double down” to ensure all of the policies are being followed.

The names of the officers involved have not been released yet. Strickland said releasing the names is now up to TBI and that he can’t give a detailed description of them as it might interfere with the bureau’s investigation. However, Strickland did said they “weren’t seasoned” and were “relatively new” officers.


Strickland said the community should “trust this full, honest investigation that’s going to go on both at MPD and the TBI.”


“We will get to the bottom of this,” Strickland said. “I’m directing our entire city hall staff and all of our resources to get the answers to the questions that we all have.”


Moving forward, some city officials want TBI to investigate all officer-involved shootings, not just the ones that result in death. Memphis City Councilman and Shelby County Commissioner Edmund Ford Jr., along with Commissioner Tami Sawyer, announced Wednesday that they would introduce a joint resolution asking TBI to respond immediately to officer-involved shootings that are both fatal and non-fatal.


Ford said people shouldn’t have to die in order for a thorough investigation to take place.


“I get tired of hearing about officer shootings locally and nationally,” Ford said. “Hopefully, the joint legislation will be one step of many to get justice for those who end up in this situation.”

Ford said he will present the resolution to the council on Tuesday, September 25th along with a list of questions for law enforcement, such as what the disciplinary measures are for an officer who turned off their body camera.


“I hope my colleagues will unanimously support this legislation,” Ford said. “I hope it’s not a polarizing issue. Any issue like this should be investigated and justice should be served.”


Mayor Strickland said he is “totally open” to the legislation, but that the TBI would have to be invited into that conversation in order to make sure they have the resources to be able to do that.


In a statement released Thursday, council member Patrice Robinson said she believes "we need to allow the system to work."

Here's her full statement:

"It is an unfortunate situation and my heart goes out to Martavious Banks’ mother and family. I pray that Martavious heals quickly.

I am personally watching this process and at this point, I believe we need to allow the system to work. We will review the contract with the Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as well as the Memphis Police Association’s Memorandum of Understanding as it relates to disciplinary actions.

As representatives of the citizens of Memphis, it is our responsibility to ensure the fair and adequate treatment of all Memphians.

It is my desire that the citizens of Memphis will be patient and show concern for one another by forming more neighborhood watch groups and resolving to support one another by demanding respectful actions by all."

Councilman Kemp Conrad said in a statement Friday that the officers’ actions were “inexcusable,” but that he trust the administration to handle the investigation.


Here is his full statement:


“First, I want to say that my thoughts are with the family of Martavious Banks. Words can’t describe the horrific nature of this incident. I hope that he makes a full recovery.


While I support the men and women in blue, it is inexcusable that three officers directly involved did not have cameras turned on during this incident. I recognize that officers have a tough job and incidents like this make it even harder, which is why I am a long-time supporter of this tool of transparency. They protect our officers and the citizens of Memphis.


Furthermore, I support the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigating officer-involved shootings in the City of Memphis.


I have full faith that our Mayor and his administration will handle this investigation efficiently, swiftly, fairly, and with the utmost care.”

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