Strickland: 40 known instances of officers not following body, car camera protocol

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — "The notion that cameras were turned off before the shooting is disturbing to me. I'll say it again. It's unacceptable. It's inexcusable and it will not be tolerated. Period."

That's what Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland had to say during a news conference on Friday just days after an officer-involved shooting left one man injured. It was the first time the mayor, who has been out of town this week, has spoken in person about the incident.

Many questions surround the shooting — namely, why the three officers involved had their body and/or dash cameras off at some point during the incident.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Strickland revealed this wasn't the first time officers have failed to follow department policy in regards to body and dash cameras, which are there for their, as well as citizen, safety.

The mayor stated he's aware of 40 or so instances when officers have been disciplined for cutting off the cameras.  He said in those cases, the officers were trained on the proper procedure but failed to follow through.

"We have thousands of cameras out there and we need to use them correctly," Strickland said.

Strickland also reiterated the fact he fully supports Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings, his department and his decision to ask the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to take the lead. The state agency will lead the shooting investigation while MPD conducts an investigation into the violation of department policy.

He also said he's directed City Hall to provide support and all available resources in order to get the answers to the questions we all have. In the meantime, he asked the victim's family and the citizens of Memphis to be patient and allow state authorities to conduct a thorough and honest investigation.

The mayor has not spoken with the victim's mother but said he is open to meeting with her.

When asked whether he feels the public has been given enough information on the incident, he said that's now up to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the inquiry.

Lance Thompson, a Memphis resident, said the body camera incident makes him feel unsafe.

"It kind of makes me think nobody's watching the other person, you know what I mean, like they get a free ride," he said. "If anything, I feel like one hand has to watch the other and they have to put something in place to make sure that happens."

According to Strickland, 1,650 Memphis police officers are outfitted with body cameras and in-car cameras are installed in 535 squad cars and 10 police service technician cars.

Since rolling out the cameras in 2015 and 2016, those body cameras have recorded 560,856 hours of video and dash cams have recorded 568,751 hours, he said. The city has produced 329 videos for court cases.

Also Friday, the Memphis branch of the NAACP released a statement praising the district attorney, Strickland and police director Michael Rallings for turning the investigation over to TBI, which the group said would ensure transparency.

"We await the findings as does the entire community," said the group, who also went on to say that they fully supported peaceful protests that have followed the shooting.

Full video of Mayor Strickland's press conference below:

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