Who is policing the Memphis Police Department? - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Who is policing the Memphis Police Department?

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A coalition of 12 community organizations called Memphis United is asking city hall for a civilian law enforcement review board in the wake of three incidents involving officers A coalition of 12 community organizations called Memphis United is asking city hall for a civilian law enforcement review board in the wake of three incidents involving officers
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The city says police officers may soon get some form of sensitivity training and also address the issue of citizens videoing officers with cell phone cameras.

But the breadth of civilian oversight of Memphis Police Department is the crux of the issue.

"Without civilian oversight of law enforcement it's just the police policing the police, and we all know how that works. It doesn't, clearly," said Paul Garner of HOPE.

A coalition of 12 community organizations called Memphis United is asking city hall for a civilian law enforcement review board in the wake of three incidents involving officers, including one last October on South Main that shut down a rap cypher on South Main.

"The fact is that the civilian oversight of law enforcement is not about demonizing police officers but about public accountability in a system that the public can trust and restore public confidence in," added Brad Watkins of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

City of Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little says there is a citizens law enforcement review process already in place, but it fell dormant for lack of activity.

"There is civilian oversight, and it's the city council. There is civilian oversight for the police department and it's the mayor," noted City of Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

At its peak: three complaints, he says. But Little also says city hall will appoint members and reactivate the board to provide civilian oversight.

"We have processes in place. We think they are adequate. They need to be improved in terms of their operations," said Little.

Little says the civilian law enforcement review board is an appellate body with no subpoena powers. Memphis United says it should have the right to force witnesses to testify.

"Right now we have no accountability to the public of law enforcement," said Garner.

Memphis United says the city promised it an official answer to the civilian review request within two weeks.

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