MPD reveals how officers who turn off body cams are disciplined

MPD reveals discipline for officers who turn off body cams

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department leaders revealed Tuesday to city council members there isn’t a standard punishment for officers who turn off their body cameras.

Last week, 25-year-old Martavious Banks was shot multiple times and seriously injured by Memphis police.

Three officers are on leave and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating because their body cameras weren’t activated.

“When we distance ourselves in these situations, we get a more transparent situation; the community trust the outcome is just so much better,” said Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer.

Sawyer went before city council members Tuesday, discussing a potential joint city and county resolution to push for the TBI to investigate all officer-involved shootings.

The current policy has the TBI investigate officer-involved shootings only when a death occurs.

The TBI was called in to investigate by District Attorney Amy Weirich hours after the fact.

“It makes a reasonable person think there's something to hide,” said council member Martavious Jones.

Police explained there have been 53 incidents where cameras were disabled. In 48 of those cases, discipline was leveled against the officer.

The most common discipline was a written reprimand or days off, but police said it could include termination as a culmination of other issues.

“We don't have a matrix because every fact-based case is different,” said MPD Deputy Director Mike Ryall.

Police said they could not speak to what happened with the cameras during the Banks shooting, citing their ongoing internal investigation and the TBI’s.

“We want to make sure that it is properly investigated, and we can get a report back to our general public,” said Council Chairman Berlin Boyd.

In a statement last week, the TBI said any request to investigate all officer-involved shootings statewide or in a single jurisdiction would likely require additional personnel and resources.

City council members will continue debate in two weeks, along with county commissioners.

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