Police director, activists spar over brutality accusations - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Police director, activists spar over brutality accusations

On the fifth floor of Memphis City Hall on Tuesday, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and a group of local activists agreed to disagree on how the police department handles police brutality accusations.

"We don't have anything to hide," Godwin said.

"We see this as a more systemic problem," said Amy Livingston of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center.

The dialogue was a result of surveillance video released last month showing a Memphis police officer beating a transgendered woman inside the intake area of the Shelby County Jail.
 
In front of the Memphis city council public safety committee, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center made three formal requests.

  • First, that the city pass a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance.
  • Second, that the city appoint a gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual liaison to the police department and mayor.
  • Third, that the city contract an external audit of the police department.

The ideas met a mixed reaction from council members, who took no action.

"We'll put pressure on them until they do actually take action on these issues," said the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's Jacob Flowers.

Godwin said his department doesn't have any issues.
 
"We've got a dadgum good police department," he said. "We've got an accredited police department. That says something.  We do not condone the violation of rights."

Godwin added that he would welcome any external audit, which he said would not find anything.

Meanwhile, members of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center said the issue isn't resolved.


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