Local leaders call for police transparency in wake of Tyre Nichols death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A week after Tyre Nichols died in a hospital, days after being taken into custody during a “use of force” arrest by the Memphis Police Department, leaders across the city of Memphis renewed a call for police transparency.

Nichols’ family, supporters and the family’s attorney Ben Crump have all called for the release of MPD’s body cam footage from that arrest, an arrest which consisted of two different “confrontations” between officers and Nichols, according to the Memphis Police Department.

“This is an unfortunate incident and you would think that transparency would be of the utmost importance,” said Memphis City Council Chairman Martavius Jones.

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Jones said when it comes to Memphis Police policies and procedures, the department sets those, not the city.

And the most recent policies for body-worn cameras, dated July of 2021, lays out some of the instances where body camera footage may be reviewed by a supervisor investigating officer conduct, by attorneys or media personnel who submit requests, and more.

For Jones, until the footage is released, he said we won’t know what really happened.

“Through any incident like this, we have to let due process take place,” he said.

“Releasing the tape shows that the facts are what they are. It protects everyone involved because if there was wrongdoing on either party’s behalf, we can see that,” said Memphis NAACP Branch President Van Turner.

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He said he’s standing by the family and the side of justice.

“We can demand justice and transparency and demand that fairness will be done and carried out with these five officers.”

Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy have all issued statements promising that the body cam video will be released to the media and the public once the Memphis Police Department has wrapped up their internal investigation into the arrest and Nichols’ family has had a chance to privately view the footage.

The Memphis Police Department said they plan to have their internal investigation concluded by the end of the week.

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