TBI says it will investigate officer-involved shooting in Memphis


Martavious Banks (submitted)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday it will conduct an independent investigation into a shooting by a Memphis Police officer.

The officer who shot a man during a traffic stop Monday night has been relieved of duty while investigators review body cam and dashboard camera footage, the Memphis Police Department said.

MPD said the officer is a 26-year-old black male, and they will release his name after debriefing. WREG learned he has been with the force about a year and a half.

The man who was shot, 25-year-old Martavious Banks, remained in critical condition and underwent surgery Tuesday. Family members said he is a father of two.

Banks' mother, Janice Banks, said she believes the officer who shot her son lacked training.

“There’s a rookie that’s waiting to get on the force just waiting to slaughter anybody’s child, not knowing it’s going to be my child,” she said.

District Attorney General Amy Weirich said she asked TBI to look into the case after receiving new information. MPD was initially conducting its own inquiry.

According to police, officers stopped Banks near Gill Avenue and Pillow Street in South Memphis around 6:30.

Police haven't said what the traffic stop was for, but sources told WREG that Banks he was in his mother’s car, which shouldn’t have pulled any reports up.

Officers approached the vehicle and asked the driver for his ID and insurance information, and the driver told them he had neither.

Police said he "began reaching downward when an officer advised that he saw a gun inside the vehicle."

He then drove away, striking a curb before he was stopped a second time about a half-mile away on Gill, when he got out of the car and ran, police said. There was a "confrontation," and Banks was shot by police.

Witnesses and Banks' mother said police shot into a house on Gill where Banks had run inside. Police didn't confirm that, but bullet holes can be seen in the house's door and windows.

Police can only pursue car chases if they’re violent felonies, but they can chase on foot for anything, MPD told WREG. Officers can only shoot when they feel their life or another’s life is in danger.

Police said they recovered a handgun at the scene.

Janice Banks has disputed the police account, saying her son didn't own a gun as far as she knew, and had been shot in the back by police.

“Yeah they shot him in the back," she said Monday night. "They shot him multiple times, but one of the shots was shot in the back.”

Martavious Banks has six outstanding warrants for suspended licenses, assault and violation of probation. None were for violent felonies.

It’s unclear if police were ever given his name before he drove away. Tennessee law also allows people to have guns in their cars, as long as they’re not felons.

Monday night's shooting led to a tense situation between police, Banks' family and activists that lasted late into the night. Some in the crowd demanded to know why TBI wasn't conducting an investigation.

"All this commotion over here for one somebody," Janice Banks said. "Ain't kill nobody, no petty warrants, maybe a citation warrant, he killed nobody, no robbing, no stealing or taking from nobody."

Activists and others line up facing police at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in South Memphis on Monday night.

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