The Investigators: Memphis police director makes first change to policy since George Floyd’s death, protests

Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 10:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Changes have been made to the Memphis police policy in response to George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.

Police Director Mike Rallings spoke with The Investigators Tuesday night about the charges Memphis officers could now face if they fail to intervene when they see abusive behavior by another officer.

Rallings said when he saw the three Minneapolis police officers standing by while a fourth pinned George Floyd to the ground, he reviewed his department’s “Duty to Intervene” policy.

“We never saw a situation like we did in Minneapolis,” said Dir. Rallings. “This is a time to break the mold, rebuild it and try to figure out what we do.”

The policy used to say “A member shall immediately report to the Department any violation of policies and regulations or any other improper conduct which is contrary to the policy, order or directives of the Department.”

The new policy was sent out to police officers Tuesday afternoon.

A new line has been added.

It says, “Any member who directly observes another member engaged in dangerous or criminal conduct or abuse of a subject shall take reasonable action to intervene.

If you see something that’s not safe, you have an obligation to intervene and you could face termination and, possibly, criminal charges if you chose not to do so,” said Rallings.

New Memphis police intervention policy
New Memphis police intervention policy(WMC)

It adds teeth to policy but calls for more, wide-reaching changes continue.

“This is a time to break the mold, rebuild it and try to figure out what we do but dismantling the police department, especially in Memphis,” said Rallings. “We have a violent crime problem. We have to address that. We have to address police reforms but we also have a lot of work to do in the community.”

The police also include a line that states “For sworn employees, this reporting requirement also applies to allegations of uses of force not yet reported.”

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