Memphis City Council to take up reform proposals at first hearing since release of Tyre Nichols video | CNN
The Memphis City Council is set to discuss nearly a dozen public safety proposals and departmental reforms with the police chief and fire chief on Tuesday morning at the council’s first public hearing since the release of disturbing video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols.
The council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee will take up 11 proposals in all, including an ordinance to establish a procedure for an independent review of police training; an ordinance to clarify “appropriate” ways of conducting traffic stops; an ordinance to require police only to make traffic stops with marked cars; and a presentation on a civilian law enforcement review board, according to an online agenda.
The council is made up of 13 members and is led by chairman Martavius Jones.
The hearing comes about a month after Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten by Memphis police officers with the specialized SCORPION unit following a traffic stop not far from his family’s home. He was taken to the hospital afterward and died three days later.
The city released body-camera and surveillance footage in late January that showed officers repeatedly punching, kicking and using a baton on Nichols while his hands were restrained. They then left him without medical care for more than 20 minutes, the video shows.
The video contradicted what officers said happened in the initial police report, which had indicated Nichols “started to fight” with officers and at one point grabbed one of their guns.
His death has renewed calls for police reform and reignited a national conversation on justice in policing.
Five officers involved in the beating, all of whom are Black, were fired and were indicted on charges of second-degree murder. In addition, a sixth officer was fired, and a seventh was put on leave, and two first responders were suspended for failing to render emergency care.
The specialized SCORPION unit also was disbanded, less than two years after it was put into place.
Prior to his death, Nichols had worked with his stepfather at FedEx for about nine months, his family said. He was fond of Starbucks, skateboarding in Shelby Farms Park and photographing sunsets, and he had his mother’s name tattooed on his arm, the family said. He also had the digestive issue known as Crohn’s disease and so was a slim 140 to 150 pounds, despite his 6’ 3” height, his mother said.
Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, are among the first lady’s guests at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
Biden hosted members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the White House last week to discuss police reform, which has stalled in Congress multiple times and faces an uncertain path forward.