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TN Politics: Police Become Suspects When Cameras Are Turned Off


When the Memphis Police Department made a sizable investment in body cameras, accountiblility and transparency were among the reasons cited for their implementation. Police encounters that are recorded are less likely to end up with complaints filed. Local governments can monitor the types of interactions being had between law enforcement and citizens. 

But at a time when closely watched statistics support claims of racial bias in policing, police departments have more incentive than ever to show that proper procedures are being followed.

This week, MPD officers deactivated their body cameras while pursuing a suspect who fled from a traffic stop. A yet-unnamed officer then shot Martavious Banks, 25, critically wounding him. The ostensibly deliberate lack of video evidence has already generated protests and actions from local lawmakers. 

This week, political Otis Sanford shares his thoughts about the incident as well as some additional opinions about the Tennessee senate race. 

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher has covered Memphis news, arts, culture and politics for more than 20 years in print and on the radio. He is currently WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.