MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County District Attorney released the police body camera video for the first time of what happened when Memphis Police Officers shot a man five times in September 2018.
District Attorney Amy Weirich said it’s part of the decision why she decided not to charge the officers and charge Martavious Banks.
This case resulted in a guilty plea from Banks, who got shot. One of the officers involved retired. Three others were disciplined for turning off their body cameras and not following other rules regarding the pursuit of Martavious Banks.
The incident started as a traffic stop for Martavious Banks and Memphis Police but it ended not with a ticket but with bullets. In the body camera video of the traffic stop, you can hear the officer telling Banks that he has been stopped for driving without insurance. They ask Banks for his identification. “I can give you my name. I don’t have it on me,” Banks replied. Seconds after the officer turns to go back to his patrol car, Banks is seen in the video driving away and a five-mile pursuit follows.
Other body camera video shows officers arriving at a home in 1200 block of Gill Avenue where Banks is trying to get inside. “Hold it down. Watch the front,” an officer is heard saying on the body camera video as they surround the home. Memphis police claim Banks had a gun. When he turned and allegedly showed that weapon, an officer shot him.
In a video, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich quoted what the officers told agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation about the shooting.
“When I made to the top of the stairs I noticed his left hand was trying to gain access to the door handle and as his body turned I realized his right hand had a weapon in it and had started raising it toward me and that is when I drew my firearm,” said Weirich speaking on camera as the screen showed the officer’s statements.
The officer who shot Banks five times turned off his body camera before shooting him. Investigators could only post a picture enhanced by the TBI. It was taken from another officer’s body camera when shots were fired at Banks. District Attorney Weirich also showed a picture of the 9mm weapon Banks allegedly had on him. “DNA testing was done on that gun and it came back to Martavious Banks,” said DA Weirich.
The district attorney also pointed out that the officers involved in the case had violated police policy regarding how they pursued Banks in their cruisers, communicated with each on and off the radio, and turned off their body cameras at times.
According to the district attorney, the officers didn’t break any laws but the person who did was Banks. District Attorney Weirich said, “Martavious Banks violated the law of the state of Tennessee. Case was presented to the Shelby County Grand Jury and the grand jury returned an indictment.”
Martavious Banks pleaded guilty in August 2019. A statement from the district attorney’s office reads, “to intentionally evading arrest in an automobile and creating a risk of death or injury, and to illegal possession of a firearm while having a prior conviction of domestic violence.”
Banks was sentenced to two years of probation, plus almost another year of probation for violating the terms of another probation for an earlier assault conviction.
Banks’ attorney told FOX13 the video doesn’t prove his client threatened to shoot anyone. Attorney Art Horne claims the officers turned off the cameras to concoct a story to protect themselves.
The body camera video shows you just about everything that happened during the encounter between Martavious Banks and Memphis Police in September of 2018: the chase after a traffic stop, officers arriving at a home as Banks tries to get inside. What’s missing is the video of the officer who claimed Banks turned and showed him a weapon. That officer turned off his body camera before firing five times and wounding Banks. But in the body camera video released a gun is seen on the floor.
Attorney Art Horne told FOX13 too many policies were violated to believe the officers involved in shooting his client.
“Body cams were turned off. They were told by their commanding officers only to communicate on cell phone. You tell me,” said Horne.
Together they filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the City of Memphis.
Attorney Horne admits Banks did have a gun but said he never pointed it at the officers.
“He had a weapon in the car from what he know he did have a weapon in his waistband,” said Horne.
Without the video to show his client threatened the officer, Horne argues the shooting was unnecessary and the district attorney should have charged all the officers involved with a crime.
“They operated like cowboys and rogue officers with reckless abandon. And we have seen this time and time again,” said Horne.
The civil suit against the Memphis Police department grinds on. The next steps are to take statements in a deposition from all the officers involved including current Police Director Mike Rallings.
Cox Media Group