MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Transformation to police culture in the city -- that’s the goal of a letter signed by dozens of clergy members in the City of Memphis.
“We felt that as African American clergy persons that we wanted to go on record as to our dismay with instances of police brutality, but not only that, we wanted to offer some reform,” said J. Lawrence Turner, Senior Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.
Turner is one of several pastors who signed the letter.
"We wanted to put down a document that can provide demands as to what we can begin a conversation around," Turner said.
The letter, addressed to Mayor Jim Strickland, Mayor Lee Harris, District Attorney General Amy Weirich, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings and Sheriff Floyd Bonner, outlines five core policy changes clergy would like to see.
Those changes include:
- Utilize data
- Use force responsibly
- Criminalize inappropriate use of force
- Change police culture
- Reform and empower the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB)
Activists told WMC Action News 5 that city leaders are already discussing tangible changes to CLERB after separate talks they had this week.
Pastor Turner says he's hopeful for a positive outcome.
“I lean with Dr. King who said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”