Justice Department to review Memphis Police Department following Tyre Nichols' death

A public report will be released upon the conclusion of the review.

March 8, 2023, 2:06 PM

The Justice Department on Wednesday confirmed it has launched a review into the Memphis Police Department's use-of-force and de-escalation policies, along with a separate review of specialized police units deployed in cities across the country following the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who died several days after he was beaten during a traffic stop in the city.

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, will release a public report upon the conclusion of the review.

The COPS office is set to conduct a review of "policies, practices, training, data, and processes related to MPD's use-of-force, de-escalation, and specialized units" at the request of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis.

Memphis police investigate the scene of a crime, Sept. 7, 2022 in Memphis, Tenn.
Brad Vest/Getty Images, FILE

The COPS office said it will also work to produce a guide for police chiefs around the country about the use of specialized units and how they should be properly managed.

"In the wake of Tyre Nichols's tragic death, the Justice Department has heard from police chiefs across the country who are assessing the use of specialized units and, where used, appropriate management, oversight and accountability for such units," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement.

Gupta continued, "The COPS Office guide on specialized units will be a critical resource for law enforcement, mayors and community members committed to effective community policing that respects the dignity of community members and keeps people safe."

Nichols, 29, died after a violent traffic stop captured in body camera footage, which showed officers striking Nichols repeatedly.

His death prompted protests and unrest across the country.

Last month, Mayor Strickland revealed that COPS, along with the International Association of Police Chiefs, will conduct an "independent, external review" that will include assessing the department's special units and use-of-force policies "to honor Tyre and help make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again."

"While we no doubt have a long way to go on the road to healing, hopefully through our actions, citizens will see we are working to be better and that we are heading down the right path," Strickland said in a Feb. 3 bulletin.

The DOJ announcement comes one day after Memphis officials announced that more than a dozen police and fire personnel were charged in internal administrative investigations, and that a seventh officer had been terminated in connection with Nichols' death.

The release of about 20 more hours of video and audio recordings concerning the traffic stop was expected on Wednesday. The release was delayed, however, with no video, audio or records related to the city's administration investigation able to be released "until further order by the court" following a motion for protective order filed by defense attorneys Wednesday morning, the city said in a statement.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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