Last weekend, 26-year-old Taquan Smith was killed in a shooting on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Prior to the shooting, Smith and a handful of his family members were out on Saturday night to celebrate the life of a family member who was recently deceased. At around 2 a.m. on Sunday as the group was leaving The Green Room on Beale Street, them and another group of people got into an altercation. The altercation quickly escalated into a shoot-out, occurring nearby a police substation and within a group of police officers. Three Memphis police officers fired their weapons at one of the shooters. Smith was pronounced dead at the scene, and two others were injured, including a man police had taken into custody that night. Both are listed in critical but are in stable condition.
Smith was a father of five children. Howard Manis of The Cochran Firm Memphis is representing his family, conducting an independent investigation to ascertain what happened and why the incident occurred. Manis also has questioned why the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has not been involved in the case.
“We’ve got an agreement, we’ve got a shooting, police are involved it’s undisputed that they fired their weapons at a minimum an independent investigation by the TBI should have been conducted and should be ongoing now,”-Manis
According to The Shelby County District Attorney, TBI agents are not being involved due to the fact that there is not a fatal officer-involved shoot-out to be investigated.
Manis believes that security and safety protocols for the entertainment district on Beale Street are not adequate, claiming that nothing was done to prevent the shooting between the two groups and the MPD. The Downtown Memphis Commission states that on the night of the shooting, security officers were checking ID’s, conducting security searches, and patrolling the area until roughly 1:30 a.m. However, Manis questions why the security searches did not occur throughout the longevity of the night.
“Why is it necessary to have security from 9 to 1, but not from 1 to 3, doesn’t it make more sense that security at the very least is necessary the entire time,”-Manis
No charges have been filed in this case as they are continuing their independent investigation.
"At this point, we have not determined a lawsuit is appropriate. But, if a wrongful death lawsuit were to be filed, it would need to be done so before Tennessee's statute of limitations runs out, which is one year from the date of death. And the Shelby County District Attorney General's office has yet to hand over any investigative materials that would help form the decision to file suit.”-Manis
Smith’s family and Manis are wanting transparency from the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. Due to the lack of investigative materials, Manis says he will implore the community to aid their investigation in getting any relevant materials to the shooting.
"They have put the victim and the victim's family at a disadvantage. This is why it's so important for the community to share with us, anything they have that is evidentiary in nature,"-Manis
The Shelby County District Attorney issued a statement in response to Manis’ statements to the press, saying that their office is not withholding anything and there is nothing to be handed over.
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