District Attorney says office will do better job tracking requests for review of law enforcement complaints

Investigations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County District Attorney’s office says it will review any complaint against an officer to see if they went too far.

But it’s unclear how often that actually happens. Moving forward, she said, they will keep a better record.

“That’s one of the things were working on building. A history. A tracker. Kind of bring all of that together,” District Attorney Amy Weirich said.

Weirich says her team has reviewed cases for Memphis Police Department when questions arise about possible criminal conduct by officers. That can involve excessive force or any questionable behavior.

“Perhaps it’s a truthfulness issue,” she said, “an officer making a claim that later is established to be untrue. They may refer that to us to review.”

Weirich said she was unsure how often cases get referred to her office.

“Everything they send us, we review,” she said.

But she said when they get a case, her team will look at the testimony and evidence like body camera footage, then determines if any laws were broken.

“If people have to stay extra hours, if we have to work more to get it done. So be it. It’s important. It’s important for the community,” Weirich said.

While the case may not rise to criminal charges, Weirich said the misconduct may land the officer on a special list her office maintains of officers who are not credible and should not be used to testify in court.

That list includes 25 law enforcement officers — 13 from MPD, nine from the sheriff’s office and the rest from other agencies in Shelby County.

WREG asked MPD how many cases involving alleged officer misconduct it’s asked the DA to review over the past three years. We’re waiting to hear back.

Weirich said sometimes citizens, or her own team, will request to review alleged misconduct.

In an effort to be more transparent, MPD has recently posted more information about the types of complaints made against officers over the past four years, including how many were legit and how many officers were disciplined.

You can see that information here.

Related: City councilman wants to make police files more transparent to public

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