Resolution calling for TBI on officer-involved shootings gets delayed

Resolution calling for TBI on officer-involved shootings gets delayed

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Monday, Shelby County Commissioners sent a highly publicized resolution calling for mandated TBI involvement in officer-involved shootings with critical injuries back to committee.

The move will delay it another two weeks as some commissioners expressed concerns.

Some commissioners had issues with the language of the resolution. Others said it should include suburban police departments too.

"Our community is at a critical juncture in its relationship with law enforcement," Commissioner Tami Sawyer said.

The proposal would encourage state lawmakers to lobby for legislation requiring TBI to step in and investigate officer-involved shootings that include critical injury or death.

District Attorney Amy Weirich's office and Memphis police ordered the TBI to take charge once the discrepancy came to the surface.

"From the Memphis Police Department, we are not opposed to TBI investigating officer involved shootings," police director Mike Rallings said.

Rallings said his department supports added transparency.

But TBI officials highlighted their own concerns.

“Because of what we’re doing, the current model is not sustainable long term,” TBI Senior Police Adviser Jimmy Musice said.

TBI said it has 11 field agents in its 21 counts in West Tennessee. They send 5-7 when they are summoned to investigate an officer-involved shooting.

Over a five year period, there's been 70 officer-involved shootings in Memphis and Shelby County: 43 involved death or injury, and the agency investigated 15 of them.

TBI officials said their involvement could be hindered by recent action of the Memphis Police Association, which as early as a few days ago started telling its members to not submit to TBI interviews, even as witnesses in an incident.

“If we want a process that’s going to be conducive to the city of Memphis and the officers then we have to put that process in place but that hasn’t been done yet,” MPA President Mike Williams said.

MPA supports officers giving statements to Memphis police as part of an internal affairs investigation, but doesn’t believe they have to submit to them from TBI because the TBI investigation is criminal in nature.

The Memphis City Council is holding off on advancing its version of this measure depending on what commissioners do.

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