DOJ to Review Memphis Police Use of Force, De-Escalation Policies Following Tyre Nichols' Death

The Department of Justice will perform a review of the Memphis Police Department after the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols, the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announced Wednesday, ahead of the expected release of about 20 more hours of footage from Nichols’ January encounter with police.

via: NBC News

Police video footage, from multiple angles, showed Memphis police officers hitting 29-year-old Nichols in the face, kicking him and striking him with a baton following a traffic stop for alleged reckless driving Jan. 7. Nichols died three days later.

More than a dozen Memphis fire and police department employees have been charged in connection with the beating, and police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis has said her office has found no proof to substantiate the claim of reckless driving.

Memphis officials asked for the review, which will also include probing the department’s specialized units, the Justice Department said in a statement.

“Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis requested this review, which will cover policies, practices, training, data and processes related to MPD’s use of force, de-escalation and specialized units,” it said.

Following the probe, the Justice Department will issue a public report about its findings and recommendations.

Its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, known as COPS, will conduct the review. The Justice Department also said Wednesday, separate from the review of Memphis police, COPS will produce a guide for police chiefs and mayors across the country to “help them assess the appropriateness of the use of specialized units as well as how to ensure necessary management and oversight of such units, including review of policies, tactics, training, supervision, accountability, and transparency.”

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in the statement: “In the wake of Tyre Nichols’s tragic death, the Justice Department has heard from police chiefs across the country who are assessing the use of specialized units and, where used, appropriate management, oversight and accountability for such units. The COPS Office guide on specialized units will be a critical resource for law enforcement, mayors and community members committed to effective community policing that respects the dignity of community members and keeps people safe.”

The Justice Department’s announcement came on the same day the city is expected to release additional video and audio from the fatal beating.

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