MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Nearly six months ago, officers chased and shot 26-year-old Martavious Banks.
On Wednesday, in spite of multiple requests, WREG got its first opportunity to talk to a Memphis Police administrator.
“We looked into the case heavily and administered departmental discipline accordingly. We stand by that,” Deputy Director Mike Ryall said.
MPD says it started with a traffic stop. But according to an investigative report, the officer who pulled Banks over lied about the reason for doing so. Instead, he told his supervisors he wanted to avoid an argument.
Banks then drove away from the officer, leading three officers to drive after him, which is against policy. During the pursuit, the officers didn’t notify their dispatcher like they’re supposed to. Instead, they kept the chase under the radar and communicated with each other using car-to-car radios.
The chase ended at a house in South Memphis where police say officer Jamarcus Jeames turned his body camera off and shot Banks. The two other officers involved in the pursuit and a supervisor that arrived on the scene later also turned their body or car cameras off at some point during the incident.
“It’s upsetting and it’s sad. Especially for the citizens of this city. I mean, we’re spending millions on body cams and people aren’t using them. The officers aren’t using them,” attorney Arthur Horne said.
Jeames resigned before he could be disciplined. The other officers and the supervisor received unpaid suspensions up to 20 days.
“It didn’t sit well with us. Nor did it sit well with Martavious Banks and his family,” Horne said.
We asked Ryall if the officers explained why they communicated privately and turned off their cameras.
Ryall said, “Well, I think you got a good synopsis from our PIO Lt. Rudolph regarding the findings of that case. So I would suggest and hope you would review that.”
That synopsis he mentioned, we’ve already reported on in length, and it doesn’t answer the questions.
The deputy director said perhaps we could sit down and talk about this in the future.