Memphis mayor to sign pledge calling for review of ‘use of force’ policy

Updated: Jun. 4, 2020 at 5:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland agreed Thursday to sign a pledge from former President Barack Obama asking mayors to review “use of force” policies in their cities.

This call to action comes after the death of George Floyd who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody.

Floyd died after officers were caught on camera applying pressure to his neck for more than eight minutes.

"I was really shocked and surprised to hear that Minnesota had that as part of their policy," said Bennie Cobb, a former captain with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

Cobb has more than 37 years of law enforcement experience and agrees it's a good idea to review policies periodically.

"It's always a good idea every once in awhile to see what we're doing right now, what we need to be doing opposed to what we were doing," Cobb said.

Neither the Memphis Police Department nor Shelby County Sheriff's Office allow for neck restraints to be used under any circumstance.

In MPD’s Policy and Procedures handbook revised in January of 2020 it says:

"Officers shall never use force or violence that is unprovoked, needless or not required during performance of their duties when making an arrest of in dealing with a prisoner or any person."

See MPD’s policy here.

A spokesperson for Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner says he's reviewing his offices policies and making changes to make sure the language is crystal clear.

See SCSO’s policy below:

Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol recently deployed tear gas on protesters. THP says to protect the public, troopers and the bridge in downtown Memphis, troopers deployed the gas only after giving instructions and several warnings for protesters to back away.

See THP’s policy below:

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