Memphis police officers involved in the Monday night shooting of a Black man may have violated department video recording policies, raising concerns in the African-American community of a cover-up.
It appears that the officers improperly turned off their body cameras and dashboard recorders before at least one of them shot and seriously injured 25-year-old Martavious Banks as he fled a traffic stop, the Commercial Appeal reported.
“At this stage in the investigation, I am not confident that policy was followed,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said, adding that this development prompted the police department to ask the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent probe.
Police officers chased the “armed male driver” after the traffic stop at 6:30 p.m., according to the official police account. Banks was shot during “a confrontation” with the cops. He was transported to Regional One Hospital in critical condition.
The shooting ignited an almost immediate protest Monday night, as members of Banks’ family and activists confronted the police at the scene of the shooting in South Memphis.
“There’s a cover-up!” shouted Janice Banks, Martavious Banks’ mother, at the rally.
Janice Banks and many of the protesters accused the police of shooting Martavious Banks in the back and firing into an occupied house. Banks was unarmed, his mother said.
Officers also failed to warn Banks that they would shoot, Thoedus Hibbler, a witness who came forward, said.
“As he got out of the car, they started (shooting). There was no lights on, no sirens, nothing. It was like, he started running from them and they just started shooting right away,” Hibbler told the newspaper.
Officials declined to name the officer who shot Banks but they identify him as a 26-year-old Black man. The officer and two others involved in the incident have been relieved of duty.