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The police shooting of a Black man has a Memphis community on edge and calling for transparency after it was reported that the officers failed to activate their body and car cameras.
Not operating their cameras is a possible departmental policy violation, the Daily Mail reports.
Martavious Banks, 25, was shot on Monday after a brief pursuit by police after a traffic stop, said Lieutenant Karen Rudolph, a spokeswoman for the Memphis Police Department.
Banks was questioned by police but revealed that he did not have ID or insurance, Rudolph said. Banks reportedly reached down in the vehicle and an officer claimed he saw a gun. Banks then drive away from the scene, Rudolph said.
Police pursued Banks who was stopped a short distance later. He reportedly ran from the scene and was then shot by police, Rudolph said. Rudolph said a weapon was recovered at the scene.
Shots were fired, but it’s unclear whether Banks fired the gun that was alleged to be in his car, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said.
Rallings said at issue is whether the body camera was already off or turned off. An investigation is underway and the officer who shot Banks is off duty under the investigation is completed.
Rallings said two additional officers involved in the chase deactivated their body-worn or in-car cameras and have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
“I am not confident that policy was followed,” Rallings said at a news conference.
Activists believe the police are trying to cover up and called for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to take over the investigation.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Banks’ mother Janice Banks and others have said Martavious was shot in the back. And residents have taken to the streets to protest and demand accountability.
Standoff at crime scene tape of officer-involved shooting near Elvis Presley Boulevard. Family members, activists showed up. Lots of anger. Check https://t.co/1jZDpsydq7 for details. pic.twitter.com/cn76aTObPX
— Daniel Connolly (@DanielConnolly) September 18, 2018
Thoedus Hibbler told reporters that he saw his neighbor shot by police.
“As he got out of the car, they started [shooting],” said Hibbler. “There was no lights on, no sirens, nothing. It was like, he started running from them and they just started shooting right away.”
Martavious Banks’ girlfriend, Tierra Mitchell, said she arrived to the scene around the time of the traffic stop.
“When I pulled up, they was shooting,” said Mitchell.
The officer who fired the fatal shots has not been identified.