Hip-Hop Artists Say Police Victimized Them
(Memphis) Live music turned into outrage and arrests on Main Street, and much of it was caught on camera.
Now a group of hip-hop artists say they were victimized by police.
The group says their peaceful night of music ended with pepper spray and two people in jail, all because police handled a loud music call all wrong.
The rappers had gathered Friday night outside of K’PreSha Boutique.
People who work nearby say the event was definitely loud, even offensive, but some say police handled the situation poorly.
“Back up! Back up!” yelled an officer holding a baton.
There’s no doubt that the officer in the video meant business.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” said a man.
“Back up now! On the sidewalk!” yelled the officer.
Some wonder if the reaction and the arrests that followed were warranted.
“There was absolutely no reason to do this,” said Kara Carter, a local artist.
Carter captured it on her cell phone. She was a passerby Friday night when she stopped, mesmerized by talent and live music.
“Put your hands in the air and then put them down,” said a rapper in her video.
Carter says things turned ugly when police showed-up and the rapper with the mic started free-styling about the police.
“Which was great. They were being really fun. They were putting them in there, joking around with them and one of the officers took his arm and put handcuffs around him and we were like, ‘Hold on. Hold on. What are you doing?’”
Officers didn’t end up arresting the rapper, but did cuff two others for disorderly conduct.
You can see Nile Sugarman getting arrested in the video.
Police pepper-sprayed his eyes twice, they say to get him under arrest.
“They took him and slammed his head against the car and maced his eyes,” said Carter. “He was just standing around with everybody else and being creative.”
Carter says the night of creativity turned to chaos quick and police never made it clear what they actually wanted.
“I don`t know if there were any calls made for us being loud but there are definitely ways to let us know that.”
“On the sidewalk,” yelled the officer.
In the end, the DJ took the microphone and encouraged people to go home.
“All of this is on video. Just leave…We don’t need weapons or batons, we have each other.”
We asked the Memphis Police Department if it felt the situation was handled appropriately by the officers, but officials there have yet to get back to us.
Both men arrested were released the same night on $100 bonds.