Published on: Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Justice Department has launched an investigation into Memphis and its police department for its use of force, searches and arrests and potential discriminatory policing (article available here).

The announcement Thursday from Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz for the Western District of Tennessee comes more than six months after Memphis police officers tased, pepper-sprayed and brutally beat Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop. Nichols died three days later and federal investigators later launched a civil rights investigation into his death.

She said this information included reports that Memphis police officers made racially discriminatory stops of Black people for minor violations.

"We received multiple reports of officers escalating encounters with community members, resulting in excessive force," she said. "There are also indications that officers may use force punitively when faced with behavior they perceive to be insolent."