MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – The mayor of Memphis is seeking outside federal help for an independent review of Memphis police, as some members of Congress consider adding Tyr Nichols’ name to a police reform bill currently being drafted.
There is a new push to pass the George Floyd Police Justice Act this year in Congress.
At Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday, attorney Benjamin Crump announced that part of the George Floyd case law includes a “Tyre Nichols duty to intervene.”
Crump says after watching more than an hour of body camera footage of the traffic stop by Tire Nichols, there was plenty of opportunity for someone to move and potentially save the 29-year-old’s life.
“They should be cracking down on these things, not interfering, not reporting, it’s just a violation of the oath of service to the community,” said Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen, who was a sponsor of George Floyd’s original justice for the police. The bill was in Congress last year.
Cohen says there is also discussion about adding Tyre Nichols’ name to the police reform bill to be called the “George Floyd-Tyre Nichols Justice in Policing Act.”
Cohen says he hopes the new bill being drafted will have better luck.
The duty to intervene may not be a statewide law, but it is in Memphis and the entire state of Tennessee.
“First of all, we were forced to intervene in our politics in 2020 after the murder of Mr. Floyd. We added that and that was one of the reasons we fired those five officers,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.
In 2022, Tennessee passed a law requiring law enforcement agencies to develop policies on de-escalation and duty to intervene.
Strickland says that in light of the Tyre Nichols investigation, he’s asking for more help.
“Our number one goal is justice for Tyre. Our number two goal is to get an outside agency or agencies that really care about our processes,” he said.
Strickland is asking the Justice Department’s Office of Community Policing and the International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct an independent, external review.
While in Tennessee, officers can be stopped for failure to intervene; however, there are currently no criminal penalties for failure to do so.
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