This story has been updated with a response from Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
An attorney representing the family of Tacquan Smith, the man who was shot and killed on Beale Street during an altercation Sunday, spoke to reporters about a pair of issues that have emerged in the days since the triple shooting.
The shooting occurred Sunday around 2 a.m. Two groups of men leaving The Green Room on Beale Street had a heated exchange that turned into a shoot-out just yards away from a police substation and directly in front of a group of Memphis police officers.
Three officers also fired their weapons after being caught in-between the two groups of men. In addition to Smith’s death, the shooting also critically injured two suspects — neither of whom have been identified.
Smith was a 26-year-old father of five.
Howard Manis, an attorney with The Cochran Firm in Memphis, believes safety and security protocols for the Beale Street entertainment district are inadequate, and did nothing to prevent the shoot out between two groups of men and the Memphis police.
A day after the shooting, the Memphis Downtown Commission announced stricter security measures and the reimplementation of a Beale Street Security Fee — formerly known as Beale Street Bucks.
Manis also questions the lack of involvement by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; TBI agents are typically requested by Shelby County’s district attorney’s office to oversee investigations of officer-involved shootings.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said TBI agents were not requested because there is no fatal officer-involved shooting to investigate.
TBI agents have investigated non-fatal, officer-involved shootings before. A high-profile example of such an investigation occurred after Martavious Banks was shot by Memphis police officers in 2018.
Asked if any lawsuits would be filed against the City of Memphis or the Downtown Memphis Commission, which oversees Beale Street security, Manis said, “At this point, we have not determined a lawsuit is appropriate.”
But, Manis added, 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.
The delay from the district attorney’s office, Manis said, is unnecessary — even if it is a common response.
TRIPLE SHOOTING: Questions remain following deadly triple shooting on Beale Street
If the position of Weirich’s office is not to hand over anything to Smith’s family until after the criminal investigation has cleared, then that could take well over a year, Manis said, adding that the position taken by Weirich’s office is their choice alone.
“I have a case pending in Nashville,” Manis said, It involves a criminal investigation. It involves a municipality, and it involves a crime scene video. And guess what? The district attorney produced all of it.”
Because of the lack of investigative materials, Manis said he is imploring the community to aid Smith’s family in acquiring any materials relevant to Sunday’s 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 said.
In response to Manis’ remarks to reporters, Weirich issued a statement Friday afternoon, indicating her office isn’t withholding anything — there’s nothing to hand over.
“We just got off the phone with Mr. Manis. He recognizes our office has no file on this case as no one has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing. If anyone has any information about this murder they need to call CrimeStoppers. TBI is not investigating because this is not an officer involved fatal shooting,” Weirich said.
The Memphis Police Department also said the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. The two other suspects in the shooting can not be identified yet, as no charges have been filed.
Micaela Watts is a reporter for The Commercial Appeal and can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Beale Street Shooting victim Tacquan Smith lawyer district attorney