Wednesday, March 22, 2023

In the Nichols case, 13 Memphis cops may face discipline.


As President Biden approaches the lectern for Tuesday’s State of the Union speech to address the country’s top issues before Congress, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats will be making a bold statement of their own — albeit a silent one.

Many of them will be wearing black pins with the number “1870” on them, which marks the year of the first known police killing of an unarmed and free Black person that occurred in the United States. The pins are a call for action on reforming the institution of policing that has killed thousands of Black people in the 153 years since.

“We will be prepared to upload onto a website all of the footage, all of the decisions, the entirety of the file,” Sink said.

Davis and fire chief Gina Sweat were called before the council to discuss policy changes or reforms put in place since Nichols’ arrest and death. But their presentations included procedures that were planned or in place previously.

Davis cited past reviews of police procedures; changes in training, leadership, recruitment and career development; data disclosures; adding more supervisors; and policy reforms including duty to intervene and render aid which were enacted after the death of George Floyd.

That did not satisfy council members who were expecting to hear about changes since Nichols’ arrest.

“I listened to the presentation as patiently as I could, and I heard a lot about discussions and conversations,” council member JB Smiley Jr. said.

”We’re 30 days out and I haven’t heard anything specifically to address” policy changes, Smiley said.

Smiley then asked Davis what went wrong on Jan. 7.

“A lot went wrong on Jan. 7,” Davis said.

“So the reason I asked that question is because what I wanted to hear today is, ‘This is what went wrong, this is what we’ve done to address these issues,” Smiley said. “I didn’t hear that today.”

The council was expected to address proposed city ordinances related to police reforms later Tuesday, including one to establish a procedure for the department to conduct an annual independent review of the Police Training Academy and another for an independent review process of instances of excessive, unnecessary or deadly use of force.

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