MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Following the Beale Street shooting more than a week ago, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis released a statement about the violence, but today was the first time she’s spoken to us on camera.
“I think it was an anomaly,” Chief Davis said. “Because it’s unusual for any individual to see police officers and still feel like it’s okay to have a gunfight.”
With one person killed and two injured, Memphis Police officers were within feet of the chaos and were also involved in the crossfire erupting just after 2 a.m.
“Well, the only thing we can really say is we have to work around the conditions,” Chief Davis said. “The conditions are that people carry guns anywhere, and that’s an unfortunate thing for our citizens of our city not just in the downtown space, but that’s anywhere. Officers can no longer stop individuals who have weapons. We are encouraging our public not to bring weapons downtown.”
Chief Davis’ team and the Downtown Memphis Commission have met about security changes since the shooting, including extended hours of wanding for weapons on the street and security fees on the weekends.
“In our conversations recently, it’s my belief that the downtown space needs more officers and of course as we’re hiring and trying to put more officers on, we plan to put more officers in that space,” she said. “But we’re going to do it before our next class graduates because we just know that we need more visibility.”
Chief Davis also says she is going to be out with her officers Tuesday night.
“You’ll also see more of our mounted patrol,” she said. “I want to encourage individuals, our citizens and individuals to continue to come downtown because we’re going to be there.”
As far as how many more officers are needed, the chief said a deeper assessment is needed for exact numbers.
Year-to-date crime stats
Chief Davis also shared year-to-date Memphis crime data with city council on Tuesday.
Through the end of March this year, there have been 55 murders in Memphis, a slight decrease from the same time last year.
Interstate shootings are down 42% for the same three-month period.