Weekly Update

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As Tyre Nichols was laid to rest earlier this week, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family and friends from whom he was taken much too soon. In the words of Tyre’s mother:

“Tyre was a beautiful person, and for this to happen to him is just unimaginable.”

To honor Tyre and help make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again, the City of Memphis has engaged the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS”), through the Collaborative Reform Initial Technical Assistant Center (“CRI-TAC”) program, and the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP) to conduct a review of the Memphis Police Department. The independent, external review by these agencies will include an assessment of MPD’s Special Units and use of force policies.  

While we no doubt have a long way to go on the road to healing, hopefully through our actions, citizens will see we are working to be better and that we are heading down the right path.

I want to leave you with a heartfelt poem written by Tyre’s godsister:

"I'm just trying to go home"

I’m just trying to go home
Is that too much to ask?
I didn’t break any laws along this path
I’ve skated across barriers
Designed to hold me back

I’m just trying to go home
Where the love is loud
And the smiles are warm
Like the sunsets that come from me
In the coldest of my storms

I’m just trying to go home
I hear the sirens
I see the flashing lights
The directions are clear:
Black skin, go left
Blue skin, go right

I’m just trying to go home
Don’t I deserve to feel safe?
Batons, badges, boots
Bright lights against my face

I’m just trying to go home
Does anyone hear the pain in my cry?
The struggle in my breath?

God replies
Come home, my son
Now you can rest

Growth opportunities: Yesterday, our Office of Youth Services held its annual lottery to select participants for this year’s Memphis Ambassadors Program (MAP) and the MPLOY Youth Summer Experience (MPLOY).

As a reminder, MAP is designed to assist youth in their decision-making process about post-secondary life and the development of social, critical thinking and leadership skills, and MPLOY provides youth ages 14 to 22 with meaningful and rewarding summer experiences. The program offers various career path options according to the participants’ strengths and interests, including soft skills training, entry-level positions, and internships.

Over the course of this year, MAP and MPLOY will be collectively serving approximately 2,700 youth from all across our city. Thanks to Ike Griffith and his Office of Youth Services team for spearheading these great programs each year.

Memphis Parks stand-outs: First, I would like to congratulate LaNaya Hawthorne (finance manager for Memphis Parks) on being named to the National Recreation and Parks Association’s (NRPA) 30 Under 30 list.

The 30 Under 30 recognition program is a joint effort by the NRPA Young Professional Network and Parks & Recreation magazine, honoring 30 of the top young park and recreation professionals who serve as everyday champions in their communities. More than 100 nominations representing 15 different states comprise the class of 2023.

Congratulation LaNaya! Keep up the great work!

Next, I would like to highlight another two members of the Memphis Parks Team who were recently recognized by the Professional Golfers Association, Tennessee Section—Mickey Barker (Senior Golf Administrator) and Austin Chinn (Manager of Player Development)



Congratulations to both Mickey and Austin on this prestigious recognition.

Thoughts and prayers needed: As many of you have seen, yesterday afternoon officers responded to a call of an individual suspected of trespassing at the 5100 block of Poplar Avenue. About 30 minutes later, the same individual is believed to have gotten into a confrontation with another citizen inside a neighboring business, the Poplar-White Station Library. 

According to initial reports from T.B.I., as the two officers attempted to talk to the individual, he produced a weapon and shot one of the officers. The second officer returned fire, striking the individual. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. The injured officer was transported to a local hospital in extremely critical condition.

Please pray for this injured police officer. I spent much of the afternoon yesterday with the officer’s family, pastor and some coworkers. I would ask that you lift them up and the entire Memphis Police Department in your prayers.


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