DOJ listens to community feedback on MPD - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DOJ listens to community feedback on MPD

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Department of Justice officials met with Memphis residents to discuss Memphis Police Department.

There were no shortage of complaints or problems for the DOJ to hear.

The goal of the meeting was to listen to community feedback about MPD in an effort to build greater trust between the community and the department.

"I call 911 and can't get through. I chase down a cop and he turns the other way," one resident told DOJ.

The more individuals that spoke, the more of an insight the DOJ received into the sometimes strained relationship between the Memphis Police Department and the communities it serves.

"Never identified themselves. Just came in my door and had me lay on the floor, took off running through my house," another individual said.

Of all the many issues mentioned and brought before the DOJ, a common theme included a disconnect between the officers and the community they patrol. 

"We got to get the community to understand law enforcement, but we got to get law enforcement to understand the community," one resident said.

"The way people of color are treated by law enforcement and our perception of law enforcement," Annie Richardson said.

The meeting comes as DOJ begins its review into Memphis police practices.

It's the first step in a three part collaborative review of MPD by the Department of Justice. The DOJ plans on listening to the community and learning about the police department. It will also publish a report of recommendations for improvement, and then spend 18 months working with MPD to make those changes.

"Any step is a good step," activist Frank Gottie said.

Mayor Jim Strickland said the review was not prompted by any specific event. It does, however, come after a few high profile police shootings and a mandate that TBI investigates all police shootings within the city. The MPD officers involved in the shooting deaths of Darrius Stewart and Jonathan Bratcher did not face any charges.

At the time of those shootings, Pastor Earle Fischer said there was a disconnect between officers and the communities in which they patrol.

"Skepticism and disconsternation with regard to what is happening between law enforcement and the civilian,” Fischer said.

The next session will be Wednesday starting at 5 p.m. at Hickory Hill Community Center.

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