Memphis Group Works to End “Police Harassment and Profiling”

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(Memphis) Dozens of people are taking action of what they claim is mistreatment from Memphis Police.

Earlier this month, News Channel 3 told you about a surge of complaints that police arrested people for using cell phones to record officers.

A group called Homeless Organizing for Power and Equality held a workshop to let people know their rights on Saturday.

It was held at the Memphis Center of Independent Living. The room was full. Many say they were victims of police profiling and harassment.

"I have been harassed," said one person who attended. "My rights were violated."

Public defenders answered dozens of questions. The purpose was to let people share their experiences involving Memphis cops and find out what to do if officers don't follow the rules.

The public defenders documented all of the complaints, so they can pinpoint the areas where these incidents were occurring. They also walked people through the process of filing a formal complaints.

"We have been hearing about these issues for a long time," said Paul Garner.

Garner helped organize the event. Last month, he and his friend recorded officers questioning someone at the Manna House on Jefferson Street.

"I understand you're videotaping, and it's on video, so I'm going to take you for jail for obstructing highway passages," said one of the officers in the video.

Garner said he and his friends were arrested. Police told them they needed a permit to film

Days later, people at a downtown hip-hop gathering claimed officers arrested people for recording them.

Garner said it put a spotlight on MPD, which is why officers at the Crump Precinct sat down with him and other community members to figure out a solution.

"One thing we were talking about to them is sensitivity training and starting it in that precinct," said Garner.

Complaints were filed in the hip-hop gathering and Manna House cases.

The ACLU responded to both incidents saying "Director Toney Armstrong should pay some attention to what his officers were trying to hide," and that "the department suffers from dysfunction much deeper than camera shyness."


  • Sally Smith

    I am a white person who has been harassed three times by black police officers. I am scared to death of them. I wonder if the ACLU cares about me.

    • Hard Truths

      Let’s fire the rogue cops. There is a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to video the cops. Why do you disrespect the Constitution?

  • Joe Williams

    Call me insane but I don’t break any laws and I have never had a cop “harass” me… Sounds more like losers wanting to mess with cops because they are simply losers who cant stop breaking the laws.

    • Hard Truths

      Cops can be predators, and they view certain people as their prey.

      Police hiring in Memphis is on a nepotism.

      Bullies want easy, powerful jobs, and other bullies see them as the ideal hires.

      • Hard Truths

        … a nepotism SYSTEM. Oh, and cronyism, too.

        The right kind of cops are not getting hired, and the wrong kind ARE getting hired. The Herenton legacy.

        SOURCE: former Navy recruiter and current MPD officer.

  • Daddy

    To all the cops out there….. How bout y’all take a day off, or even two days off, and let’s see how the country does. I bet these whiners will stop whining and complaining then. Good luck citizens.

  • Don

    I have never been harassed or profiled by police. Haven’t had coupled of justified tickets in my younger days that taught me to train ed me to act right. I don’t speed much now (well Maybe a couple of miles over) but I use cruise control a lot.
    I am courteous to police and I don’t interfere when they are doing their job. I would never record what they’re doing. But I would file a complaint with the police dept.
    If I feel they are doing something wrong a day or so later, by doing so I could explain what I saw and heard in a quiet tone of voice. This gives you a chance to act calm and the person who is taking the report is cause to be hostile toward you and is trained to do his job. you may want to take another person who can verify your complaint if needed, I would advise you to have that person wait outside, to be called in if needed.
    I would also advise you to take notes with you and refer to them.
    Also you might want to dress appropriately.

    • Hard Truths

      They are PAID to deal with the public. We are not paid to deal with them.

      MPD needs to show a lot more respect toward the MIDDLE CLASS, TAXPAYING PUBLIC.

      And that goes for white thugs AND black thugs at MPD.

      (THUG is NOT a racial term. It refers to a cult of murderers in India who would join caravans of pilgrims, and then, when everyone else was asleep, rise up, cut their throats, and rob them. It took the British 20+ years to suppress the “thuggees”.)

      I hate to say this, because there are some good cops that I know, but they don’t think much of some of their colleagues, any more than I do.

  • Sterling Askew Jr

    MPD killed my lil brother and lied on him when they shoot at him 22 times sleeping in a car, they said he woke up throwing gang signs and waving a gun, and come to find out he died holding a cigar in his hand. Do not come to Memphis the MPD is worst then most gangs.and the cops that shot my brother is still working and this an’t the first time he messed with a person sleeping in a car. No I am not making this up (look up Death of Steven Askew memphis tn..) MPD dose not won’t anyone to know about this case.

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