Memphis mayor announces outside probe into department practices

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After Tyre Nichols’ death, there is word the City of Memphis is welcoming outside agencies to examine the city’s police department, a probe that could lead to changes in department policies.

However, exactly what will happen during the investigation is still a mystery.

This news comes after Tyre Nichols’ death and later revealed the officers charged were part of MPD’s “SCORPION” unit.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the first encounter between Nichols and the five former officers happened at about 8:22 p.m. on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop at the intersection of Raines and Ross roads.

RELATED: Graphic video shows Memphis Police beating Tyre Nichols

A physical altercation ensued and Nichols ran, the TBI said. A second encounter then took place near Castlegate Lane and Bear Creek Cove. It is believed that is an area close to where he lived with his mother.

That encounter ended with Nichols sustaining critical injuries, according to the TBI.

Nichols died three days later at that hospital.

News that the city is inviting the Department of Justice as part of an outside investigation into the brutal beating death of Nichols is being met by the President of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, Van Turner, as a step in the right direction.

In his weekly update email to residents of the city, Mayor Jim Strickland writes the city “has engaged the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services,” also known as “COPS, along with the “International Association of Police Chiefs to conduct a review… .”

Strickland goes on to say the review “will include an assessment of MPD’s special units and use of force policies” to make sure what happened to Nichols happens to no one else.

“I think they ought to take a look at everything,” Turner said in an interview Saturday. “We’ve seen the internal investigation take several paths, so maybe an external investigation will do the same.”

Through backchannels with the mayor’s office, Turner said he’s made known his thoughts on what should be included as part of the investigation.

Turner said “whether it’s hiring, how officers are promoted, or how they transition over to these special tactical units. They will review everything, and they won’t just listen to the individuals or entities or stakeholders who are asking for the investigation.”

Turner, in contact with Nichols’ family, and speaking at his funeral service this week, previously said he welcomes a review that could lead to reforms mandated by a federal court. He said the news is a step in the right direction.

“Part of what we would hope is that once the DOJ is in the city, they would be willing to expand the investigation.”