Protest organizers meet with Memphis city leaders to discuss police reform policies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland along with local activists, clergy members, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings and Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner met Wednesday to discuss police reform policies.
The group met at Memphis City Hall with the goal of creating "concrete actions" to better build relationships between the community, law enforcement and local leaders.
Mayor Strickland has said the goal is to fix the way police treat African Americans.
Demonstrators protested in Memphis after the death of George Floyd, and one of the biggest asks among protesters nationwide is to defund the police.
Mayor Strickland said Wednesday he is opposed to defunding the police.
He released the following statement:
“I’m opposed defunding our police department. Over the last 4 and half years, we’ve increased funding to libraries, community centers, made summer camps free, created Manhood University, W.O.W.S, and the Public Service Corps for those who need second chances, and came up with a way to fund universal needs-based Pre-K, but we still have more work to do. With our city’s fight against violent crime, I believe cutting funding from the Memphis Police Department is unwise. And frankly, it’s out of touch with the majority of city residents. The New York Times completed a poll recently, and it showed that only 16% of Americans favor defunding the police. For context here locally, last year during my campaign the number one issue with Memphis voters was crime and the overwhelming majority of citizens were supportive of hiring more officers, and voted to increase the taxes they pay to do it.”
There's been a lot of questions about who was invited to the meeting.
A spokesperson for the Mayor says both Devante Hill and Frank Gottie led the largest peaceful protests in the city and Hill and Gottie were able to choose who would attend.
The spokesperson also said Mayor Strickland is committed to listening.
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