DOJ to announce comprehensive review of MPD - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DOJ to announce comprehensive review of MPD

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The U.S. Department of Justice will announce a comprehensive review of the Memphis Police Department.

U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III and Police Practices and Accountability Initiative Chief Noble Wray will hold the news conference Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings will also be in attendance. The review is something they said they welcome.

"To bridge the gap between community and police. That is our goal," Rallings said.

The City of Memphis said Strickland and Rallings invited the DOJ to complete the review.

"We think we have good policies and procedures, but we're open for improvement," Strickland said. "We asked them to help us on community policing and deadly force."

City of Memphis Spokesperson Ursula Madden released the following statement Tuesday:

"Mayor Strickland and Director Rallings invited the Department of Justice's COPS program to Memphis for a collaborative review of both community-oriented policing and the use of deadly force. We haven't yet signed an agreement, but we do expect a formal announcement in partnership with the DOJ tomorrow." 

We are told that during the press conference the feds will likely announce a collaboration with the City of Memphis and the federal COPS office. COPS stands for Community Oriented Policing Services. Their office will soon evaluate and recommend improvements to MPD's current policies and procedures. The services are free.

This comes only a few months after hundreds of protesters hit the streets of Memphis and blocked a portion of the I-40 bridge following the deaths of two black men who were shot and killed by police across the country.

Strickland said no single event prompted the review. He said the city has been in talks with the COPS office since early spring.

"I think we'll get some concrete, specific actions that we can take to improve our police department," Strickland said.

"We've heard cries of our city and we're open to review," Rallings said.

It is also something the family of 19-year-old Darrius Stewart welcomes. Stewart was shot and killed by MPD officer Connor Schilling last July during a traffic stop. Schilling was never indicted and is not facing charges.

"We think that's a first step towards a long road to justice," Stewart family attorney Murray Wells said.

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