Memphis City Council committee discusses expanding TBI’s role in law enforcement shootings

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis City Council committee discussed expanding the scope of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation when it comes to officer or deputy-involved shootings in Shelby County.

Council members on both sides of the issue argued for and against the TBI investigating all officer-involved shootings.

Several in the public safety committee said it comes down to transparency.

This latest round of talks is spurred by last month's shooting of 25-year-old Martavious Banks.

Banks is still hospitalized but the TBI is investigating his shooting at the request from the Shelby County District Attorney.

In Banks' case it was revealed the three Memphis Police Officers involved at one point turned off their cameras.

The current agreement with the DA's office says the TBI will take over if there is a shooting involving law enforcement resulting in a death.

On Tuesday council members in the committee meeting argued the need for that reach to expand, citing transparency, saying officers familiar with each other should not not investigate each other.

"We could have a class of 100 people and there is a certain type of fraternal affiliation that they have there," councilman Martavius Jones said.

Others disagreed.

"Well I'm afraid what we have here is reactionary politics driving bad policy," argued councilman Worth Morgan. "The ultimate goal here is to have fair and neutral fact-based investigations and there's no evidence that that's not currently going on with our internal services bureau."

MPD Deputy Directory Mike Ryall said his department is equipped to handle various investigations and do so with integrity.

"We're not opposed to it. We want everyone to understand that we have men and women here that do great work. They have high integrity, they know how to process things properly. But we believe in transparency too," Ryall explained.

The discussion not stopping in Shelby County.

State representative G.A. Hardaway was also at the meeting saying statewide he plans to call for changes too.

"We've included everyone in the discussion and we feel like we'll be able to make," Hardaway said.

No decisions were made in the meeting Tuesday. Council members that attended said they're looking at discussions on the same issue happening among Shelby County Commission members.

Those are set to continue next week.

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