Before Tyre Nichols Killing, Memphis Police Chief Had Shocking Record at Another Department

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, who moved quickly to fire five officers over their roles in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, had been fired from the Atlanta Police Department over allegations that she protected the husband of a police sergeant from being arrested. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Davis was accused by two Atlanta police detectives of telling them to veer off of any investigation of Terrill Marion “T.C.” Crane, who was the husband of Atlanta police sergeant Tonya Crane. Crane was a co-worker of Davis. A 2009 Justice Department release announcing Crane pleaded guilty to a charge  of producing child pornography stated, “This defendant sexually exploited numerous young girls, and that unforgivable criminal conduct went unchecked for years even after being brought to the attention of the Atlanta Police Department.” The release said that Atlanta police were aware of photographs showing sexual contact between Crane and underage females as early as 2000, but did not inform federal authorities until 2007. “This case goes back a number of years, which makes the list of victims longer and the facts of the case even more disturbing,” United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said in the release. Former Police Chief Richard Pennington initially demoted Davis, who was a major at the time of the incident, to lieutenant, according to the Journal-Constitution. He later fired her. Atlanta’s Civil Service Board reinstated her. In a 2008 report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that was posted on the website Masscops, Pennington was quoted as saying his actions were necessary. “These allegations were disturbing in nature and a serious concern for the Atlanta Police Department,” Pennington said. “Any behavior associated with these alleged acts will not be tolerated, and I will act swiftly to enforce the law, even amongst our own.” The report said that the allegations against Davis dated from 2004 and cited documents in the case indicating a detective, Bobby Render, said “when he asked Davis how to proceed with the Crane case, she told him to ‘cut it’ and ‘made a hand gesture in front of her neck.'” A 2021 report from WATN-TV said Davis sued to get reinstated and was then promoted to deputy chief in 2014. She said in 2021 that she did nothing wrong in Atlanta. “I was basically, and I’m just going to use the terminology, used as a scapegoat about that particular incident,” she said. “I could have retired. I could have left the department as a major and had full retirement, but I refused to take the blame for something I had nothing to do with,” she said. In 2016, Davis left Atlanta for a job as police chief in Durham, North Carolina. She was named the chief of the Memphis Police Department in 2021. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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