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Several demands addressing policing culture and the need for police reform on the agenda for Memphis Public Safety meeting

Many of the requests seek to hold police accountable, promoting civil rights, police reform and the implementation of checks and balances for law enforcement.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Public Safety and Homeland Security committee is set to meet Tuesday, Feb. 7, addressing several demands for police reform, request for support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing act, and more. 

Law enforcement has faced non-stop controversy since several Memphis police officers were accused of killing Tyre Nichols' during what was supposed to be a normal traffic stop.

The fatal confrontation happened exactly one month ago on January 7. Nichols' was hospitalized after he was allegedly tased and beaten to death by several officers at the scene. He died from his injuries three days later.

So far, six officers have been fired from MPD, but Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said more people are being investigated, and more officers and law enforcement personnel may face criminal charges as the investigation continues.

Nichols' family has received overwhelming levels of support, even from the highest governmental leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden.

While support has been massive, so has pressure on Memphis Police Department. 

MPD and legal authorities who are investigating Nichols' death have been met with several concerns. 

Although some demands are fresh, seeming to directly relate to Nichols' tragic death, activist continue to roar louder, pressuring law enforcement to meet other past demands that have been left unfulfilled.

Many of the requests seek to promote fair treatment, civil rights, and checks and balances that could potentially keep police officers and other law enforcement entities from abusing their power. 

Along with asks for police and Memphis police departmental reform and support and hopeful passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the lengthy agenda includes request for changes in the investigation process and procedures used when handling shootings between Memphis police officers and civilians. 

Activist and council members are seeking a complete change in policy that would require MPD to undergo an annual, independent review of the Police Training Academy and all the academy's training techniques.

On the tag board, activist and council members are also demanding MPD to change the way its officers handle traffic violations, requesting that the department clarify its traffic code methods. 

Some council members and civil rights activist want to put an end to pretextual traffic stops, which happen when an officer suspects that someone is committing crime, with little evidence to support the suspicion. 

Along with putting an end to pretextual traffic stops, the agenda mentions the issue of officers conducting traffic stops while driving unmarked police cars and wearing plain clothes. The committee's agenda notes that all officers and law enforcement should be required to travel in law enforcement vehicles that are appropriately marked.

Amongst all these demands, the agenda further mentions the request to form a Public Safety Reporting Protocol, as well as protocols that require the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) to look into complaints against MPD officers for instances of police misconduct, use of deadly force by police officers, and any instances of death or injury while citizens are in police custody. 

Lastly, the agenda list that it will address the demand of data transparency and the request to implement an independent review process of MPD for incidents that show proof of officers policing in a way that uses excessive, unnecessary or deadly force, causing serious injury to citizens or worse, causing death.

MPD Chief C. J. Davis and Memphis Fire Chief Gina Sweat are at the committee meeting. 

Although the agenda is extensive, the demands and request listed echo the pleas and concerns many activists, civil rights leaders, citizens, Black, minority and marginalized groups have repeatedly made, not just to Memphis law enforcement, but to police departments across the country. 

Activists and council members say the concerns address the culture of policing, seeking much needed police reform.

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