MPD Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis addresses crime and safety concerns during a town hall meeting. Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender Archives.

On Monday, the NAACP Memphis Branch voted to support Memphis Mayor Paul Young’s appointment of City of Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis.

The endorsement comes as a newly-installed Memphis City Council prepares to approve or deny Young’s nominations for key city positions. It also comes two days after candlelight vigils were held to honor Tyre Nichols, who was brutally and fatally beaten by MPD officers in January 2023 — members of a special crime unit Davis initiated.

Davis, with more than 35 years of law enforcement experience, was selected as the first female police chief for the Memphis Police Department by Mayor Jim Strickland in April 2021. Her career began at the City of Atlanta Police Department, where she held various critical roles, including Deputy Chief, overseeing innovative policing strategies and community engagement.

But Nichols’ death and the unrelenting wave of violent crime have the Council questioning whether Davis’ tenure should continue.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the approval of Davis during their Tuesday, January 9, 2024 meeting. Davis is prepared to make a presentation of her accomplishments during the last two years at the 11:45 a.m. Personnel Committee. The NAACP provided the Tri-State Defender with a copy of the presentation (see below).

The NAACP Memphis Branch also voted to request that the City Council reconsider the 12 percent MLGW rate increase.

“I think 12 percent is too high for our community at this time,” said NAACP Memphis Branch President Kermit Moore.  “The new City Council should take some time to consider the effect it will have on Memphians who cannot afford this hefty increase.”