Public Safety Director: Alleged Memphis Killing By Cops ‘Has Hurt Us All’

Franklin Township Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather speaking at the January 24 Township Council meeting.

The death of a 29-year-old Memphis man, allegedly by five Memphis police officers, has “hurt us all,” Franklin Township Public Safety Director Quovella Maeweather said in a statement released on January 27.

In the lengthy statement, Maeweather expresses condolences for Tyre Nichols’ family and details the training Franklin Township Police Department officers undergo to live up to their oath to “faithfully, impartially, and justly perform their duties.”

Law enforcement officials in Memphis and around the nation braced January 27 for the reaction to the expected release of police body cam video which is said to show the officers beating Nichols, a Black man, as he was asking what he did wrong.

Official reports say the officers conducted a traffic stop on Nichols, a FedEx delivery person, for reckless driving. Memphis’ Chief of Police has said that she has seen no evidence of Nichols driving recklessly.

The five officers, all of whom are Black, have been fired and charged with a variety of offenses, including 2nd Degree Murder.

In her statement Maeweather said that when that oath police take is broken, “we all suffer.”

“Some may try to paint us with a broad brush, but we show up every day in Franklin Township to demonstrate we are part of one of the most noble professions and one of New Jersey’s finest agencies,” she said. “We will continue to vet potential police applicants, ensuring those hired possess the highest degrees of morals and ethics. Current employees are continuously monitored to ensure they are physically and mentally proficient to perform their duties.”

Maeweather said the department is in compliance with all state Attorney General mandates, including Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement/ Integrating Communications Assessment and Tactics (ABLE/ICAT) training and Implicit Bias Training.

Additionally, she said, the department exceeds “the benchmarks required designating us as an accredited agency by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. This accreditation sends a strong message to our community that maintaining the highest levels of public safety is a top priority.”

“We have officers trained as members of the Crisis Intervention Team, designed to work with community partners to improve the lives of all people through education and advocacy,” she said. “Designated Franklin Police Officers are trained in Crisis Negotiation designed to recognize, mitigate, and resolve conflict.”

“Additionally, every supervisor attends supervisory training annually to enhance their ability to recognize and correct any deficiencies observed by their officers,” Maeweather said. “These enhanced training opportunities have improved the professional development and communication skills of both officers and supervisors.”

She said the department will “continue to host platforms for interactive conversation (Tuesday Night Talks) and build relationships with the youth (Franklin FIT/Cooking w/ Cops/ Tradesman Program). We encourage you to engage with us so that we can heal together because this has hurt us all. Share with us your concerns, your fears, and your vision, and we will share ours.”

“We will continue to evolve as a police department, a community, and a champion for humanity,” she said.

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