Leaders push to add Tyre Nichols’ name to new police reform bill

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 7:03 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Mayor of Memphis is asking for outside federal help to do an independent review of Memphis police as some members of Congress consider adding Tyre Nichols’ name to a police reform bill currently being crafted.

There’s a renewed push to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed this year in Congress.

During Nichols’ funeral Wednesday, attorney Benjamin Crump announced that a portion of the George Floyd Act would include legislation called “Tyre Nichols Duty to Intervene.”

Crump says after watching the more than hour-long body cam footage of the Tyre Nichols traffic stop,  there were multiple opportunities for someone to step up and potentially save the 29-year-old’s life.

“They need to come down hard on these things, not to intervene, not to report, is just a violation of their oaths of service to the community,” said Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen, who co-sponsored the original George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill that stalled in Congress last year.

Cohen says there is also discussion about adding Tyre Nichols name to the police reform bill so that it would be referred to as “The George Floyd-Tyre Nichols Justice in Policing Act.

Cohen says he’s hopeful that the new bill that is being crafted will have better luck.

The duty to intervene may not be the law across the country, but it is in Memphis and the entire state of Tennessee.

“First of all, we added the duty to intervene to our policy in 2020 after Mr. Floyd’s murder. We added that and that was one of the grounds that we fired those five officers,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

In 2022, Tennessee enacted a law requiring law enforcement agencies to develop a policy regarding de-escalation and duty to Intervene.

Strickland says in light of the Tyre Nichols investigation, he’s asking for additional help.

”Our number one goal is justice for Tyre. Number two goal is to get an outside agency or agencies that really look at a deep dive at our processes,” he said.

Strickland is asking the Department of Justice‘s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services and the International Association of Police Chiefs to conduct an independent external review.

While in Tennessee, officers can be terminated for failure to intervene; but currently, there are no criminal penalties that can be applied for failure to do so.

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