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Memphis police chief could be out, a year after Tyre Nichols’ death

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(MEMPHIS) — Memphis Police Chief Chief C.J. Davis could be voted out of her position, one year after the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis Police Department officers.


In a 7-6 vote, the Memphis City Council on Tuesday recommended that Davis not remain in her position, and that a full city council vote be held on Jan. 23 to make the ultimate determination of whether she will continue to be the police chief, according to the city council office.

In what was the first meeting between the newly-elected city council and Davis, the police chief was heavily criticized regarding her actions in the wake of Nichols’ death in January 2023.

Some council members claimed that Davis failed to order the Memphis Police Department to follow city ordinances passed following Nichols’ death, which were enacted to stop pretextual traffic stops. Nichols was stopped by police the night of Jan. 7, 2023, when he was beaten for reasons that were not observable on the officers’ body camera footage.

“I’m not a liar, I don’t have to be a liar,” Davis declared at the city council meeting. “I went to work for this council [after the ordinances were passed], I navigated the politics, I navigated the state law, the federal law, and the position of our officers receiving mixed messages.”

Newly-elected Memphis Mayor Paul Young, who was not in office during the police encounter with Nichols last year, urged the city council to give him the opportunity to work with Davis and allow her to stay at her post.

“I understand that there was a little tension between the administration and the prior city council,” Young said at the council meeting Tuesday. “And what I want to say to you is that this is a new slate. You all have never worked with me as mayor before and I want to have a collaborative relationship to agree collectively on those results.”

Nichols, 29, died on Jan. 10, 2023, three days after his violent confrontation with police following the Jan. 7 traffic stop.

A subsequent federal indictment alleges that the five officers involved in the incident – Desmond Mills Jr., Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, and Emmitt Martin III – deprived Nichols of numerous rights under color of law during the confrontation.

Mills pleaded guilty to federal civil rights and conspiracy offenses. The other four defendants pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. They still face a federal trial scheduled for May 6, 2024, according to the Department of Justice.

The Memphis Police Department fired the five officers, who were part of the department’s since-disbanded SCORPION unit, following an investigation into Nichols’ death.

ABC News’ Stephanie Wash and Meredith Deliso contributed to this story.

 

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