MPD director promises transparency in officer-involved shooting investigation

Director Rallings promises to ‘hold officers accountable’

MPD director promises transparency in officer-involved shooting investigation

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Three Memphis police officers are now off-duty after investigation into Monday night’s officer-involved shooting revealed that all three turned off their body cameras.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said that the union supports the use of body cams to protect both officers and civilians.

Williams said that MPD officers have faced punishment for not activating their body cams.

However, he also said using a body cam is “something the officers have to get used to.”

“When you’re involved in an incident, a critical situation with a suspect, you may not have the time or availability to turn the camera on," Williams said.

With three of his union members now suspended from the force, WMC took a closer look at MPD’s body cam policy and punishment.

"There are many questions that still need answers,” said MPD Director Mike Rallings.

Rallings wants to know why three of his officers failed to use their body cams or dash cams during Monday night's officer involved shooting.

Memphis Police Department policy requires officers to immediately activate their body cams on all calls for service and on all vehicle stops.

"They all three violated procedure, and it wasn't just one,” said attorney John Marek. “It was three."

Marek serves on the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, or CLERB, the agency that investigates complaints against MPD.

Marek said this incident doesn't pass the initial smell test.

“If you had one officer that didn’t have their camera on, maybe you can try to argue it was malfunctioning, or you could try to remove fault by saying it was an accident,” Marek said. “But when you have three at the same time?”

In February, MPD Deputy Chief Don Crowe told WMC Action News 5 that officers make mistakes.

"Unfortunately, we do have some officers that forget, or purposely do not turn them on,” Crowe said. “And when we identify that officer we decide what the right corrective action will be, so they do face corrective action."

What that corrective action is and how many officers have been disciplined for body cam violations isn't clear right now.

However, Rallings promised transparency, integrity and accountability in this investigation.

"Let me assure you that I will get answers and we will hold officers accountable,” Rallings said.

Marek doesn't think a slap on the wrist is a strong enough penalty for officers who violate the body cam policy.

He also thinks MPD should revisit who controls the off switch on the cameras.

Copyright 2018 WMC. All rights reserved.