Tire Nichols Arrest Video and Memphis Police News

Representative Joe Towns Jr. speaks during a press conference at the headquarters of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Memphis on Saturday morning. (Alyssa Pointer/Reuters)

Two Democratic state lawmakers plan to introduce police reform legislation before Tuesday’s filing deadline in the Tennessee General Assembly, lawmakers said Saturday.

The announcement comes the morning after authorities released video of Tire Nichols’ deadly encounter with police.

The bills will seek to address mental health care for law enforcement officers, hiring, training, disciplinary practices and other topics, said Rep. GA Hardaway, who represents part of Memphis and Shelby County.

Rep. Joe Towns Jr., who also represents part of Memphis, said the legislation could pass the State House as soon as April or May.

While Democrats hold the minority with 24 representatives compared to the Republican majority of 99 representatives, Towns said this legislation is nonpartisan and should be passed by both sides of the legislature.

“You would be hard pressed to watch this footage (of Tire Nichols) and see what happened to this young man, OK, and not wanting to do something. If a dog in this county was beaten like that, what the hell would happen? Cities said.

Hardaway answered some of the unanswered questions that remained after watching the video of Nichols’ violent traffic stop and beatings.

“It makes no sense to have an elite, so-called elite unit on the streets, and yet we cannot know to whom that (SCORPION) unit responds. How did a car chase go- Was it started when the protocols of nearly every law enforcement agency in the country require you to climb the ranks and notify your superior that you are participating or about to participate in a car chase? Hardaway said.

The lawmaker said he believed there was more to the story and that the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County deserved to know “the full story as soon as possible.”

“You can’t have an effective law enforcement agency operating in Memphis, Tennessee and Shelby County unless you have the confidence of Memphians and Shelby Countians,” Hardaway said. “You can’t earn the trust of Memphians and Shelby Countians unless you’re truthful, and you can’t be truthful unless you’re transparent.”

Both Hardaway and Towns praised the peaceful nature of the local protests on Friday night, which Nichols’ mother asked about before the video was released.


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