Memphis has avoided most unrest eruptions when it comes to policing. so far.

“We’ve been quiet, dormant, and proud of the fact that we haven’t had anything serious over the past few years,” said Bill Adkins, pastor of the Great Imani Church and one of the most recent Members of the Mayor – Appointed the Reimagine Policing team to help drive change. When it comes to the relationship between the community and the police, he said, “We’ve done a great job in Memphis in recent years.”

Dr Adkins noted that police departments have undergone a number of reforms in the past two years, from banning chokeholds to de-escalation training. “We worked out all of these things and are happy with what’s been done,” he said. “We are absolutely appalled that these five individuals would commit this.”

Van D. Turner, Jr., a mayoral candidate for the NAACP division of Memphis and a former Shelby County commissioner, said he believed in Michael Brown ( Michael Brown In the years since Ferguson’s death, the city has handled police-community relations and George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis better than many places case. He noted that the majority of the nearly 2,000 police officers are black, as is the city’s population. “It’s not really bad,” he said of the police’s relationship with the community. “Obviously this” – the death of Mr Nichols – “has put a strain on the relationship, which I think is healable and will get better over time.”

The five officers charged in Nichols’ murder were all hired in recent years — between 2017 and 2020.

When the city scaled back the police pension plan in the middle of the past decade, police officers left the job. Mark LeSure, a former Memphis sheriff who will retire in 2021, said pay cuts and other bureaucratic issues have forced many of the force’s veterans to retire, filling the ranks with inexperienced officers. Officers wear specialized clothing earlier in their careers than in the past, such as the Scorpion Corps.

Adding to the potential danger is the nature of a professional team like Scorpion Force. It was launched after Mr. LeSure has since left the force, but his former colleagues have told him that the force, which is tasked with aggressively pursuing criminal suspects, should have taken to the streets and made arrests wherever they could.

“Human human, that’s what happened. They let their emotions get the best of them, and there was no experienced officer there to stop them,” LeSure said in a phone interview. “Usually when the veterinarian is there, it’s different because we have the experience of, ‘I know you’re angry, but you have to stop, you can’t do this, it’s not right.'”

steve edel and mark walker Contribution report. Julie Tate contributed research.

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