Civil rights group wants federal government to take over MPD

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A civil rights group accuses Memphis police officers of pulling women over for no reason and sexually assaulting them.

The group is quick to say a vast majority of cops do a good job, but it also has 200 complaints accusing officers of targeting poor neighborhoods.

WREG contacted MPD several times, but no one agreed to talk with us in person or on the phone.

All they are telling WREG is they don’t know about the allegations.

Several women told WREG they’ve told MPD about the attacks.

“He was trying to touch all over me. He put his hands between my legs,” a 16-year-old girl said.

WREG is keeping her identity hidden. The teen said she was with her mother in Frayser when a MPD officer pulled their car over and put her in his car.

“He was trying to touch my breasts and put his hands between my legs,” she said. “I tried to fight him off.”

She said when her mom noticed what was going on, he let them go and drove off.

They reported it to Memphis Police, but were never told if they found out who did it.

“Ever since Toney Armstrong became police chief, it’s been hell in this city,” said Pastor Wendol Lee with Operation Help Civil Rights Group.

Lee said that is just one of hundreds of horrifying stories their organization has heard.

In a stack of complaints he showed WREG, some women said officers were too aggressive. Some accused officers off forcing them to have sex.

Lee even showed us lawsuits against officers filed in federal court.

While MPD said Wednesday was the first time they’ve heard about the complaints, Lee said he’s been filing reports with MPD, and even the district attorney, for the last year.

Since nothing was done, he went to Washington, D.C., demanding the Department of Justice step in.

“We go to Washington, D.C., and demand they take over or either you all do something about that police department,” said Lee.

Lee admits not every officer with MPD is bad, and said, “I’m not against officers. I’m against crooked officers.”

He said this is a small group ruining the image of the city and the innocence of women.

“Just please get rid of the bad police in Memphis,” said the 16-year-old girl.

WREG contacted the federal agent Lee spoke to, but we’re told he is out of town until Thursday.

Lee plans on going back to D.C. next month with all of the people who’ve filed complaints.


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