MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis man who was shot by police after a chase in September has been indicted on charges tied to that pursuit, but the officers involved won’t be charged.
Martavious Banks, 26, appeared before a judge Friday for the first time since being released from the hospital in December.
“He’s still struggling,” Banks’ lawyer Art Horne said. “He’s going to have challenges for the rest of his life. He has limited use of his left arm, and he was shot in the groin area, so that’s tough.”
Horne says Friday’s hearing was for a violation of probation charge related to a 2016 assault case.
The day before, Banks was indicted on a number of charges, including intent to evade arrest auto risk/death, unlawful possession of a weapon in a public place, driving with a suspended or revoked license and reckless driving.
Memphis Police have said Banks’ shooting started with a traffic stop, but according to an investigative report, the officer who pulled Banks over lied about the reason for doing so.
Police say Banks then drove off, leading three officers to drive after him, which is against MPD policy.
During the chase, the officers didn’t notify dispatch, which is also against MPD policy, and kept the chase under the radar by communicating with each other using car-to-car radios.
The chase ended at a house in South Memphis, where police say officer Jamarcus Jeames turned off his bodycam and shot Banks.
“I still think that even though Mr. Banks may have been in the wrong, he didn’t deserve to be shot and almost killed,” Horne said.
The two other officers involved in the pursuit and a supervisor who arrived on the scene later also either turned off their bodycams or didn’t activate them.
Jeames resigned before he could be disciplined. The other officers and the supervisor received unpaid suspensions of up to 20 days.
“We just can’t have cowboy police officers out here in the community behaving the way that those officers did,” Horne said. “We’re lucky that Mr. Banks is still with us.”
In a statement Friday, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office defended her decision not to seek charges against the officers involved, saying that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s report helped form her decision.
“My job is not to determine if policies or procedures of the Memphis Police Department were violated that day,” District Attorney Amy Weirich said. “After reviewing the investigative file and all of the evidence available to us, I asked the TBI to seek an indictment against Martavious Banks. I have not requested and will not request criminal charges against any police officers involved in the incident. There is no evidence of any criminal conduct on the part of these officers.”
Weirich went on to say that her office is not authorized to release any bodycam footage or information contained in the TBI report due to the pending prosecution.
But Horne says he still hasn’t seen the TBI’s report, and since there’s no video from the shooting, it’s Banks’ word against the officers’.
“We don’t know if they’re covering information up,” he said. “This situation is very unusual because most of the cases that we have, the person is deceased. And Martavious is not deceased, so this is sort of a novel situation for me.”
Banks is being held on a $4,000 bond for the violation of probation charge.
Horne says Banks is also on probation for a 2017 assault case, and will face a judge Monday on additional violation of probation charges.
No date has been set for Banks’ arraignment on the new charges related to the chase.