Memphis Police Department (MPD) director Michael Rallings said Tuesday there is a “false narrative” regarding the actions of officers.
“This narrative is problematic and can have negative consequences and jeopardize public safety,” Rallings said. “Given our environment and the national climate, I thought it was of utmost importance to present you the facts regarding incidents in Memphis.”
Rallings said in the past the media has reported that 95 percent of Tennessee’s officer-involved shootings take place in Shelby County, but based on information that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) has provided that is “not even close to being correct.”
There have been 43 officer-involved shootings investigated by TBI statewide; three of those shootings or 6.9 percent involved MPD officers, Rallings said. MPD officers hardly use any type of force, he said.
“We rarely have an incident where officers use deadly force,” Rallings said. “In all actuality, officers only responded to resistance 1.2 percent of the time in 2017. That’s a very sharp contrast to the 200 homicides recorded in 2017.”
Rallings also said that in 2017, excessive force reports from citizens were down.
In the past seven years, there have been 11 officer-involved shootings in the county. Three were fatal. Since 2011, Rallings said there has been a 73 percent decrease in officer-involved shootings.
Ralling’s comments came during a Memphis City Council committee discussion on the TBI investigating all officer-involved shootings — both fatal and non-fatal.
Rallings said he worries that if TBI does this for Memphis, it will have to implement the same policy for the entire state, which based on his conversations with TBI, without having more staff, the Bureau would not be able to do.
The council will vote on a resolution supporting the involvement of TBI in all officer shootings at its meeting in two weeks.
The Shelby County Board of Commission already approved a similar resolution 7-4 at its meeting last week.
This comes after the TBI stepped in to investigate the officer-involved shooting of Martavious Banks in September. Banks was was shot by three officers who did not have their body cameras turned on at the time of the shooting.