(Memphis) – Police Director Toney Armstrong admits seven officers went over the line when they arrested Quinton Lytle and Michael McDonald off Beale Street July 4, 2011.
“I think the officers acted inappropriately. I think their actions were excessive,” says Armstrong.
They weren’t the first complaints, especially from Beale Street patrons.
Four people filed complaints against Officer Jonathan Barron between 2010 and 2012 saying he used unnecessary force to move them off Beale Street, either choking, pushing them to the ground or slamming them into a squad car.
Barron said they were the aggressive ones.
In the cases filed, internal affairs found Jonathan Barron used excessive force only once and he received a written reprimand in July 2011.
Four people went to Internal Affairs about Officer Cecil Fowler claiming he knocked them to the ground, rammed them into squad cars and used derogatory language including the “n” word.
Internal Affairs found all four claims unsubstantiated.
Officer Joshua Howard also ran into problems working Beale Street. There were two complaints in 2010 from people who say he punched them in the head or put them in headlocks.
Like the other officers Howard said it didn’t happen and he was dealing with aggressive and often intoxicated patrons.
Internal affairs found no wrong doing.
It found the same no-wrong-doing in complaints against officers Eric Lee, Francis Cherry, Steven Breth and Marico Flake.
But when the officers came face to face with Micheal McDonald and Quinton Lytle, it was a different outcome.
“We have a responsibility to protect our citizens and our citizens should never be put in a way they feel afraid of violence at the hands of police officers,” says Armstrong.
Michael McDonald and Quinton Lytle are moving forward with their 2-and-half million dollar lawsuit against the city.
As for why all of this took almost two years to play out, the police director says they were waiting on the District Attorney’s findings which ultimately found no evidence of a crime.
The D.A. says in cases where there is a lot to review, it takes longer.