Department of Justice scales back review of Memphis police

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Some people are calling the decision to scale back a federal review of Memphis Police Department a step backward.

"I believe this is a new day, and I don't believe it's going to be a better day," defense lawyer Murray Wells said.

Wells worries this more amended Department of Justice review, signed by Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings earlier this month, is a step in the wrong direction.

Wells represents Darrius Stewart's father. Stewart, 19, was shot and killed by an MPD officer back in 2015.

Stewart's family has been pushing for this federal review to hold MPD more accountable, but Wells say this new document under a new federal administration does not clearly list the same priorities as the prior DOJ agreement signed back in March.

"From my understanding, the COPS Programs has said we're no longer going to give you access to the federal government that tells you how everyone's doing, no more report cards, no more incident information," Wells said.

"I don't believe the program has changed. I believe the wording of the agreement has changed," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

He said the city is still looking forward to working with MPD, yet they have no control over DOJ changes.

"We've kept our position the same. We wanted a review of the community policing and a review of the use of force," Strickland said.

The DOJ released a statement saying the policies have been modified to provide targeted assistance to local law enforcement. The changes return control to personnel sworn to protect their communities.

According to this DOJ document, the changes should be complete by August 2018.

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