Mayor Jim Strickland on DOJ investigation into Memphis Police Department

Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 10:38 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Department of Justice is putting the Memphis Police Department under a microscope through a “pattern or practice” investigation.

The DOJ will look into allegations of discriminatory policing, improper use of force, and unlawful searches and arrests made by MPD.

Friday, Mayor Jim Strickland shared his thoughts on the investigation.

The same investigations into the Louisville and Minneapolis police departments after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd took more than two years to complete.

Strickland says his office will cooperate with this new investigation fully.

“I think overall the culture in the police department is a good culture and it abides by the constitution,” said Strickland.

Strickland says he’s disappointed by Thursday’s announcement because he says he asked to talk to department officials before things got to this point.

“At the end of the day, how have these affected the recruitment and retention of officers,” said Strickland. “How has it affected the crime rate? What does it cost? I wanted to have a deep dive into that.”

Strickland says he was told by officials with the DOJ, that they have a policy not to speak with leaders in the city being looked into.

The DOJ has said no specific event or incident sparked this investigation here in Memphis.

But it comes months after the beating and death of Tyre Nichols and the firing of the five officers charged with his murder.

“At the end of the day if there’s only one incident that does not justify a finding, not the start of a process,” said Strickland. “But an actual finding, that’s what I’m hopeful for, They will find what I believe is there is a law enforcement agency that has dedicated individuals following the constitution and doing a good job for our citizens.”

Strickland also says the results from the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, also known as “COPS”, will be complete by the end of this year.

This is a different investigation conducted by the Department of Justice.

Strickland invited them into the city to review specialized units, use of force, and other practices.

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