Lawmakers call for better police relations with citizens

Lawmakers call for better police relations with citizens

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Community leaders are demanding policy change within the Memphis Police Department.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is calling for the termination of any officer who tampers with a body camera or police squad camera.

This comes after investigators revealed that the officer who shot 25-year-old Martavious Banks last week did not have his camera on.

That officer, as well as two additional Memphis police officers, are off duty pending an investigation from the TBI.

SCLC also wants to see some sort of tamper-proof device be used on those body and squad car cameras.

Leaders plan to bring those suggestions to Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings. The SCLC said it plans to work with police and the community to strengthen relationships.

"I'm disturbed at the circumstances surrounding this incident with this young man Martavious Banks,” said SCLC President Reverend Walter Womack. “SCLC and concerned clergy will be monitoring this investigation very closely so that justice will be done."

Community leaders also said they plan to implement a program that teaches young people respect when faced with law enforcement.

They also want to work with police on strengthening those community relationships.

"We’re going to have to work together as brothers or we’re going to perish together as fools,” said Rep. Raumesh Akbari.

SCLC calls for policy change within MPD for officers who tamper with body cameras

As lawmakers, including state representatives London Lamar and Akbari heard from community members Tuesday night.

"In order for us to have a community where there is a trusting relationship between law enforcement and the community, we must have those hard conversations,” Lamar said.

These conversations were made up of firsthand accounts by people who’ve dealt with local law enforcement.

"We continue to see community members say that, ‘actually, I don’t feel safe with the police around’ and that’s disturbing. I think that’s hurtful to us,” said attorney Erica Perry.

There were also suggestions on what can be improved.

"If we have law enforcement in our communities that are from our communities, that know our people, that make us feel comfortable, that make us feel safe then we can be able to have that relationship being built,” said Kendra Lee.

A relationship between local law enforcement and the community is what the meeting aimed to address and hopes to continue moving forward through legislation.

“I’m tired of people writing the narrative for Memphis,” Akbari said. “It’s time for Memphians to write the narrative for Memphis.”

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