Brooks’ racial outbursts may cost her at the polls

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It seems everyone in the Mid-South is talking about race after the recent dispute between Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks and a motorist over a parking space at Methodist Hospital, where Brooks works.

While racial tensions exist in most cities, Memphis seems to stand out raising questions about who's leading the way to do something about it. WREG found out what some people are doing to get past skin color.

"The fact that the witnesses said she got out and the first thing she said went to race, 'you think you're white so you can get the spot,' that's a mentality in this community that has been exacerbated and it's a shameful thing because this community is so racially diverse," said WREG commentator Otis Sanford.

Memphis is a city of many races and cultures, but lately with Commissioner Henri Brooks its come down to race. What happened in cellphone video shot by witnesses has landed her an assault charge in this dispute over a parking space.

Getting beyond the differences that divide us is part of what the Memphis Urban League Young Professionals is doing. They're about developing a professional and social network with all races..they say that's the future.

"I've been gone for like 12 years. I don't know the old saying. I know what's new and what's going on right now," said T.J. Jefferson.

When it comes to Brooks what's going on right now are two recent incidents involving race. One was when she told a Latino man who was before the County Commission they didn't have it as tough as African Americans. That same day, Brooks also told a fellow white commissioner he had a white sheet. He took that to mean she was associating him with the KKK.

WREG talked to voters who supported Brooks before. Some of them say her recent actions won't vote let them vote for her again in the juvenile court clerks race in August.

"I allow anybody a second chance but they keep on slipping up. I don't support them,' said Willie Chambers, a former Brooks' supporter.

Some say Brooks' way of handling situations is harmful and doesn't speak well for our political leaders.

"I think the young professionals we have an openness to diversity. That's what we see," said Jefferson.

The public will see if it costs Brooks in August's election.

Voter Austin Davidson said, "Maybe its true, maybe it's not but over these last few weeks it's one thing after another. Something is coming out and it's like you have your own agenda and it makes it hard for the public to support that."

Brooks' attorney, Andre Wharton, said he'd like people to look at this case as an isolated situation and says the video the witness shot on her cell phone doesn't tell the complete story of what happened. He says the judge will hear that.

Brooks is back in court July 29th.


  • anonymous

    The fact that anyone would ever vote for her is worrisome and discouraging. It’s sad that so many despicable people like her become leaders when there others who truly want to help their community.

    • Hard Truths

      There are a lot of Nation of Islam racists, and other black racists here in Memphis who will vote for her BECAUSE of her racist behavior. Not that she will win. I suspect decent, middle-class blacks will vote against her in droves.

      What I do not understand is why the Wharton family is standing beside her in this. They, of all people, should know better.

      • 1midtownmike

        No doubt. It appears that the Wharton family is probably “challenged” at the moment. They are most likely uncertain as to which side of the fence they should be on. Sorry AC, but you had a chance to speak out against racism when Henri went crazy in May but you tried to sweep it under the rug. There was no diversion from anyone that had a third grade education.

        There is so much egg on your face.

      • Don

        Brooks’ attorney, Andre Wharton, said he’d like people to look at this case as an isolated situation

        Oh yes, Andre Wharton is the son and is employee of Wharton Firm, the mayor of Memphis.
        Hmmmmmm, Birds of feather flock together.

        Attorney André C. Wharton
        graduated with honors from Hampton University in 1999 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Marketing. He then journeyed south to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he attended and finished law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    • John T. Dwyer

      There was a time when black people had no voice in how their city was run. Police and so called ward healers kept the blacks in place and they were told…no warned…how to vote. Men like AW Willis, Odell Horton, Otis Higgs, Russell Sugarmon, JO Patterson, James Netters and Fred Davis came to the forefront. They carried themselves with a quiet dignity that was admired by all. When they spoke they meant what they said, and said what they meant. They said “elect me” and get fair representation. When they were elected, that is exactly what people got!
      It seems those days have mostly gone away.

      Having studied the writings and speeches of Malcolm X in his earliest times, I have but one question to ask of Ms. Brooks if she is an actual racist: Who are the white people that gave you those large donations in your campaigns of past and present?
      In addition: How is it that a person making less than $20,000 a year, can afford to give your campaign donations above $1,000? Where did they get that money to give?
      Malcolm X once opined that some of the so called black leaders were actually funded by massive white donations in order to keep the black population in check.

      So I say our so called racist, may not be an actual racist after all. I need to refresh myself on the terms “Field Hand” and “House Cat.”

      • Classact

        Paranoia is poison. That’s one of the issues with Memphians now. Everyone thinks the white man is after them. When the reality is they are just trying to survive and take care of their families like we are. The only thing slowing us down is this paranoid attitude. It is what it is. She is racist. She is slowing us down. She is a part of the problem. And it appears our Mayor and his family are also some of those that are slowing us down. All of this needs to be finally exposed and all of them need to be held accountable and removed.

  • KT1128

    This is what happens when you kept putting the same old people back in office, old ideals, old thoughts. That’s the reason the city can’t move forward and crime is high.

    • Just saying

      You are right. The last city that I lived in experienced a similar level of disrespect from a city council member and the mayor protected this person. A private citizen organized against the entire city council and the mayor and within one year had enough petitions to request a new vote from citizens, which resulted in the removal of 5 out of 7 city council members. Additionally, citizens challenged the law, voted, and implemented a term cap on ALL public offices. NO MORE LEGACY APPOINTMENTS or chronic corruption.

  • Pam

    She wants to be Juvenile Court Clerk because she acts like a juvenile herself and would fit in better there.

  • Paul Fischer

    I am surprised Methodist Healthcare didn’t fire her after racist outburst directed towards a Latino citizen and white county commissioner back in May. If I had done this, my boss would have called me and fired me over the phone. So if the black community wonders why stereotypes exist that non-blacks feel that they are being discriminated against in this community, look no further than Henri Brooks, Mayor Wharton, “King” Willie, and the black members of the Memphis City Council & Shelby County Commission who when given the chance to speak up against racism stayed silent.

    • Pam

      I think what we can take away is Methodist looks complicit and approving of this racism, not the kind of place I would want taking care of me if I get sick

  • John T. Dwyer

    White voters, X said, “are so evenly divided that every time they vote, the race is so close they have to go back and count the votes all over again. Which means that any bloc, any minority that has a bloc that sticks together is in a strategic position. Either way you go, that’s who gets it.”
    This is what happened with the Hackett versus Herenton election, if you need an explanation. With all of the posers out there on tv and everywhere else—-it will never happen again.

    Do I think Henri Brooks is a racist? NO! Absolutely not. I firmly know, and not just believe, that she was put in that Shelby County office to help maintain control. Never mind the state senate where she has a public record of supporting every piece of legislation, proposed by eastern and middle Tennessee office holders! Her own sponsored legislation supported who? Certainly not some poor black man living down on Mississippi Boulevard that has had all kinds of “FEES” dumped on him to pay for the government! I could go on about this but not now. In the meantime think about this: Did she actually refuse to support the flag/pledge of allegiance on her own or was it a stunt to distract?

    Lastly, if she was a dyed in the wool racist, why would she work at a place where the principal holders are white? Why would she drive an automobile that is manufactured solely by white people, where there are no stock holders of color? Why would she wear a hair style that is straight and not natural Afro?

    There may be something else afoot with “Our Miss Brooks”, but a racist, nahhh!
    (She may have forgot the Premarin that day.)

    • Hard Truths

      So she is a racist AND a sellout. Like King Willie. Like so many ghetto politicians who babble racism but get their graft and vote per the orders of white Republicans.

    • Pam

      Forgetting the hormone pills does not make you erupt like that. What car do you suggest she drives. Where is the majority black auto manufacturer? I can see her in a Byurrick with some twenny threes.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    So let’s call it what it is, “Racism Equally Distributed.” We can clearly see that there is racism on both sides of the aisles, however it appears when a black person, especially an elected black person let their frustrations get the best of them, then it is dealt with in a way to make it appear that they (black people) are the only one with this problem. Otis Sanford should be ashamed of himself, especially being an educated “man” with some influence in the Memphis Community for not spear heading an open forum on racism in Memphis. He was absent last week on the show “Informed Sources,” but Claudia Barr did bring up the issue with Richard backing up the fact that this issue (racism) is alive and well throughout Memphis but people don’t want to talk about it. Until “we” really get serious about this one issue Memphis can not, and will not move forward at least not in my life time, and I am 75 years old, lived through things our young people have no clue about, but hold no grudges, why, because I moved on, even after Martin Luther King was killed; was I hurt, you better believe it, but what I see happening in Memphis is not what he would have wanted if he were alive today. So, yes, if the accusations against Henri Brooks is true, then she should be convicted in a Court of Law, not in a Court of Public Opinion. All you have to do is read the comments on here and other places where people post “their” opinions and you can clearly see the divide, and if you can’t then you are a part of the problem. I really hate it when people speak so freely about the problem of racism in Memphis, but are too cowardly to come out and really do something about it.

  • Sally Smith

    It is Mayor Wharton’s RESPONSIBILITY to speak out against the actions/words of this woman. His silence DEMONSTRATES SUPPORT for racism.

    • Ed

      His wife ruby is her freakin campaign manager and they have her campaign sign in their front yard. Ac is nothing but a smiling racist

    • Pam

      Obviously not in the Methodist visitor parking lot. Otherwise Henri would have whoop they @55 and sent them on their way.

  • Just saying

    HATE CRIME a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.

  • Love Memphis

    This post is in response to John Dwyer’s comments. I am white, and I totally agree with you about The Honorable Judge Otis Higgs. Many years ago my late husband was an attorney in Judge Higgs courtroom. After working a long day , what a wonderful surprise to see Judge Higgs show up in my husbands hospital room and we would all hold hands and pray. Yes…black and white people holding hands in a sick mans hospital room praying to GOD OUR FATHER!!!!!!!!!! I hold that memory close to my heart, and I will always be thankful for that memory and experience. It meant so much to my late husband, and to me. The world lost a great man when Judge Higgs died. He was a powerful speaker. GOD please help the race relations in Memphis !!!! Blessings to all who read this!!!!!!

  • Sickofthelazyracist ni-gg-ers

    If a white person said even a quarter of what she did they would be castorated. Talking about double standard. Just as the name says that how they make me feel. Oh and they blame everything on the white people. Give me a break. Always full of excuses and full of SH–.

  • Hard Truths

    I cannot understand why the Shelby County Democratic Party doesn’t disown her, the way the State Democratic Party disowned the White Supremacist who won the Senate nomination to run against Senator Corker in 2012.

    And for the record, I AM a Democrat, and I have voted for President Obama and Mayor Wharton at every opportunity.

  • TPA

    Question: If this racist loon is sooo much into her BLACKNESS,,then why is she wearing a WHITE WIG..??

  • TPA

    Question: If this racist loon is sooo much into her race and history then why is she wearing a WHITE WIG??

  • Arguenot

    If Memphis is to move forward, instead of continuing their slide backward into fiscal mismanagement, soaring crime, abysmal test scores etc… This nonsense has to stop.
    You can not scream for justice and equality, and then deny other’s their rights with the next breath. You can not hurl accusations of racism, while spouting racist comments yourself.
    The TV show “What Would You Do?” filmed in Memphis and the show recently aired. Google it, and see how real Memphians responded to racism. Out of 5 or 6 people filmed ALL did the right thing. We have people in Memphis that should make note of the reality of the average Memphian!

  • Kevin

    she deserve our vote … she no racist then most of the people posting to this article…. The white people (only the ones that post here daily) are just happy to see this racial nonsense. It is usaully them that are guilty of this but today they want to play the victim. Ms Brooks was right on but handle the situation a little harsh. Seem like to me that WREG is following her around just to get some dirt on her. All of this mess is just a setup since the election is so near … regardless to what these white people feed us let’s not be fooled by antics.

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