Should law enforcement in Memphis be able to freely get and use military-style weapons? That’s the conversation the Shelby County Commission had Wednesday afternoon. Commissioners voted to pass, with a favorable recommendation, the third reading of a proposed ordinance for transparency and limited use of military-style weapons by Shelby County law enforcement.
“I just think it’s important that we don’t use military-grade equipment against those individuals in our community. When we do that, we go down a dangerous road,” said Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner. Turner is sponsoring the proposed ordinance. “We’re not asking in this particular ordinance that we stop body armor or we stop things that help protect law enforcement, we’re just saying that those military-grade items that could do harm on a mass level not be transferred to the county sheriff’s office without further inside, transparency and approval by the commission,” said Turner. The proposal comes after word got around to the commission about weapons that were used by law enforcement during the summer protests.
“There were shock shields that were used against protesters and it wasn’t known to us. It came as a shock to us and we just don’t want any further surprises,” Turner explains.
It’s an ordinance proposal that needs seven votes to pass into law and it now has six. “We just need one more vote to make this law on this upcoming Monday and we’ll see what happens,” said Turner. [full article]