MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Commission took up several ordinances Wednesday related to the Tyre Nichols case, a day after Memphis City Council approved five ordinances in the name of police reform.
Commissioners attempted to pass their own similar ordinances in the name of making citizens feel safer in the county.
“I was following the Tyre Nichols incident and saw that there were sheriffs that were a part of that incident. Members of the sheriff’s department,” Commissioner Britney Thornton said. “There is some applicability and some type of accountability that needs to happen in Shelby County.”
The first item on the agenda requested that the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office disband and discontinue future use of all specialized units and task forces.
Not all commissioners were on board, saying the task forces so far have done good in Shelby County.
“During the mass shooting at the Kroger in Collierville, some of these task forces made sure everyone was safe,” David C. Bradford Jr. said. “We are just concerned that this is very broad right now.”
The item got a 3-3 vote on its first reading, giving it an unfavorable recommendation.
The next item was an ordinance banning biased and pretextual traffic stops, and limiting searches, questioning, and the use of unmarked vehicles for traffic stops.
Members of Decarcerate Memphis were at the meeting, presenting the County Commission with the same presentation they gave City Council showing how Black and brown people are disproportionally stopped by police and incarcerated in Shelby County.
“We want to change the policies, and not just the people who are doing the policies because the policies are really what make these kinds of violent encounters inevitable,” said group member Adam Nelson.
That ordinance passed favorably with a slim 3-2 margin.
The committee also took up the Tyre Nichols Transparency In Policing Policy when conducting investigations of officers’ use of force. That item passed unanimously, 7-0.
Each item will have at least two more readings before the commission.