MPD releases policy concerning use of deadly force

City leaders call for transparency in officer-involved shooting investigation
Published: Jul. 21, 2015 at 4:28 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2015 at 12:51 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Family members are demanding answers, and investigators are working to oblige in the case of a 19-year-old shot and killed after a traffic stop.

Memphis police said Darrius Stewart started fighting an officer after the officer looked up Stewart's active warrants.

During the fight, the officer, identified as Connor Schilling, shot and killed Stewart. Schilling is on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated.

Stewart's family said the warrants are not for their loved one, but another Darrius Stewart.

Tuesday, many Memphians gathered outside City Hall in a protest.

Those present said there's a lack of transparency from Memphis police and city officials about the case.

Even City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert addressed people at the rally, saying not all cops are bad cops, but she too wants to see more transparency.

"As a public servant, public business belongs at the public table," said Halbert.

Mayor A C Wharton said the decision to hand over the officer-involved shooting over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was a "quick call to action."

"Tell the people what happened, let the chips fall where they may," Wharton said.

Wharton did not deny that the national backdrop of other police incidents went into the decision to hand over the investigation of Stewart's death to the TBI.

"We would be tone deaf to just say 'oh no, that had nothing to do with it.' I will be candid; it does have something to do with it. We want to be as proactive as we can," Wharton said.

TBI officials are not required to reveal any information to the public from their investigations, but in this case, Mayor Wharton said he is pushing for transparency.

WMC Action News 5 got copies of criminal complaints out of Iowa and a warrant out of Illinois for a person with the same name. However, we have not been able to verify whether it is the same Darrius Stewart.

Meanwhile, defense lawyer Murray Wells said he still has many questions about the case.

"How'd they get him out of the car not cuffed, and how's he allowed to get out of the car and grab the cuffs if that's what happened?" asked Wells.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation plans to release the warrants when they learn more about them.

In the meantime, Memphis Police Department released its policy on officers using deadly force.

A. Use of Deadly Force in Defense of Self or Others

Officers are authorized to use deadly force:

1.  In self-defense where the officer has been attacked with deadly force, is being threatened with the use of deadly force, or where the officer has probable cause and reasonably perceives an immediate threat of deadly force; or

2.  In defense of others where a third party has been attacked with deadly force, is being threatened with the use of deadly force, is in danger of serious bodily injury or death;  or where the officer has probable cause and reasonably perceives an immediate threat of deadly force to a third party.

B. Use of Deadly Force to Affect an Arrest

Officers are authorized to use deadly force to affect the arrest of a fleeing felon only when:

1.  The officer has probable cause to believe the individual to be arrested has committed a felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious bodily injury; AND

2.  The officer has probable cause to believe that the individual to be arrested poses a threat of death or serious bodily injury, either to the officer or to others unless immediately apprehended; AND

3.  Where feasible, the officer has identified himself/herself as a police officer and given warning such as, "STOP--POLICE--I'LL SHOOT," that deadly force is about to be used unless flight ceases; AND

4.  If all other means of apprehension available to the officer under the attendant circumstances have been exhausted.

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