Weekly Update

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Over the last several months, I have written to you many times about the "Revolving Door" in our judicial system and how it’s our number one challenge on the law enforcement side of crime reduction. 

For instance, Memphis police have arrested almost 2,400 people for car theft and car break-ins in a recent 18 month period. But there has been little to no punishment or intervention, and as a result, the crimes keep increasing.

Another tragic example of this unfortunate reality occurred earlier this week. On October 29, several individuals were breaking into vehicles on the parking lot of a restaurant on Elvis Presley Boulevard. While we do not know all the facts yet, we know the owner of the restaurant went out onto the parking lot, and the criminals shot and killed him and another person.

Through great police work, MPD arrested Darion Banks the next day and charged him with these murders. And to almost no one’s surprise, his criminal record is lengthy, and there has been no punishment or intervention throughout.

During the 20 months before these murders, he was charged five different times with theft of cars and other crimes. Because Banks turned 18 years old on July 20, 2021, and juvenile court records are not open, we only know his record the last two plus years. The results are below.

On February 11, 2022, he stole a car and a gun. He was arrested and released on a $5,000 bond.

On March 22, 2022, he stole another car and was arrested. Gun and drug charges were included. He was released on a $10,000 bond.

On April 10, 2022, he was arrested for a car break-in and burglary of items in the car from a February 9, 2022 incident. He was identified through fingerprint analysis. He was released on a $12,000 bond.

On June 1, 2022, he stole a car and a gun. He was arrested four days later in the stolen car, and he was also charged with unlawful possession of a gun. He was released on a $15,000 bond.

On November 10, 2022, he stole a car and was arrested the next day in the car. He was released on a $20,000 bond.

On September 18, 2023, he pled guilty to two car thefts, one theft of a firearm, and one burglary from a car. He was placed on diversion, with no time in prison. Many charges were dismissed.


Then six weeks later, he is arrested again for being part of these tragic deaths. When he was arrested, it was after a lengthy vehicle pursuit, there were several guns recovered from the vehicle, and there were two small children in his car.

It’s sad. It’s infuriating and beyond frustrating. The message in our city needs to be that, if you commit a crime, there will be severe consequences. Unfortunately, that is not the case; we know from individuals working in the streets on violence interruption with gangs that the message being received is that criminals will not be held accountable.

 We need systemic reform, and our judicial system must change. 

Our state and federal laws must also change. They allow for the proliferation of guns on our streets. Also, they still fail to adequately punish the wrongful use of those guns, even though the state’s Truth in Sentencing Law was a big improvement.

I firmly believe that the future of our city is bright, but we must get a handle on crime to fully realize it.

All they do is Win: Memphis was the winner of two awards from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association during last week’s state planning conference.

The first award was for Outstanding Plan Implementation for Accelerate Memphis, and the awards jury had this to say about our nomination:

“Accelerate Memphis establishes a clear commitment to the principles of good planning and strategic implementation and effectively builds off of the momentum of the Memphis 3.0 Comprehensive Plan, providing strong continuation of planning context and development in Memphis and Shelby County.”

This is the second year in a row Memphis has won the state planning award for Outstanding Plan Implementation. Last year, we won for overall implementation of Memphis 3.0.

The second award was for Outstanding Project for a Large Jurisdiction for the Memphis and Shelby County Urban Design Guidelines. The awards jury had this to say about our nomination:

 “the Design Guidelines use an effective mix of illustrative graphics and easy-to-read narrative text to establish a framework that can provide consistent and predictable results. The guidelines strike a balance between providing enough specificity to guide development, while still being flexible to allow creative design solutions. They are relatable to a variety of audiences from the emerging developer and homeowner to the most sophisticated developer or designer. At all times, the new design guidelines send a clear and unambiguous expectation of design excellence and quality.”

Thank you and congratulations to John Zeanah, director of the Office of Planning and Development, and his team for all their hard work in this area.

100 Business in ONE Day: Earlier this week through a grant from Living Cities, our Office of Business Diversity and Compliance assisted 100 new business owners with filing the necessary documents to form their business. All filing fees were covered using the grant funds.


Below is list of partnering organizations.


Thanks to Zanderia Davidson and her team at OBDC for hosting this event and putting in the work to help these start-ups.

Enjoy your weekend and Go Tigers!


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