City council votes in favor of Tyre Nichols ordinance
by: Ashley Paul
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis city council members voted in favor of an ordinance that will address police reform in the city in one comprehensive ordinance.
Community members attending the Memphis City Council meeting Tuesday were enraged after learning the council went against their wishes and voted in favor of the Tyre Nichols Justice in Policing Ordinance without the changes they wanted.
“It’s an insult to not just Tyre Nichols, but to every citizen in Memphis to go backward on this,” said one community member.
The ordinance would repeal the recently passed police reform measures and combine them into one comprehensive ordinance. It would also do away with the topics that could conflict with state law.
But citizens worry this new ordinance is too vague and won’t enforce the change they’ve been fighting for.
Vice Chair JB Smiley said the council’s first priority is hearing the will of the people, adding this vote was procedural because the council cannot amend an ordinance until its third reading, which will be the next council meeting.
At that point, it could be voted into law.
“I think the people who have been pushing reforms and showing up at the council meetings will ultimately be happy or satisfied with what the council does do,” Smiley said.
He said combining these measures into one ordinance will help clear up any ambiguity in the long run.
“Here, if you create one piece of legislation, years from now when council takes a look at police reform, they can say, ‘Here, here’s the police reform legislation and we can look up every particular law that pertains to police reform,’” Smiley said.
An ordinance discussing appropriate methods of enforcing traffic violations was tabled for the second time this week. Both ordinances will be up for a third reading at the next council meeting on April 4.