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Memphis Police Chief meets with President Biden at White House

Chief CJ Davis, others in Washington as cities address recent surge in violent crime and how best to use federal dollars to reverse the trend.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "I miss him, he always had a smile, he was a good kid," Consquala Harris said Monday morning.

Harris' pain was raw Monday morning, as she mourned the overnight shooting death of her son, 18-year-old ZaQune Harris.

Family said he was about to be a father.

"He was ready, that's why he went out and found a job," Harris' mother said.

The latest shooting death on Randle Street marked the third within a mile and a half in north Memphis since the 4th of July, including 7-year-old Kelby Shorty.

So far this year, the number of murders has surpassed the 2020 total, a year which also set a new record high for total homicides.

"I come from a city that is experiencing gun violence disproportionately in black and brown communities," Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said.

The violent crime issue is why Chief Davis spent Monday at the White House, invited to meet with President Biden.

Last month, Memphis leaders committed to using available federal funds - around $80 million in the next year - to hire and train more officers and pay for additional overtime, expand youth programs and hire more violence intervention workers.

"We have to find balance, we can't continue to arrest crime away, we need to get guns off the street, hold people accountable and ensure that our community gets the kind of protection that they need," Chief Davis added outside the White House following the meeting.

"Chief Davis has a long and deep history, deep, deep experience in law enforcement," Special Assistant To The President For Criminal Justice and Guns Policy Chiraag Bains said Monday afternoon. "Chief Davis talked about the importance of addressing morale and increasing the number of officers."

Memphis and 15 other jurisdictions agreed in the months ahead to share best practices of how to cut down on violent crime and improve mentoring.