Police review shows ‘unwarranted force,’ but officers stayed on job

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG has been been digging deeper into cases of excessive force, and when MPD officers turn their body cameras off.

We spoke with two people who were part of a call where officers used unwarranted force and turned off their cameras — but the officers stayed on the job for months afterward.

Body camera footage from the end of 2016 shows Officer Jeremy Holmes and Officer Adam Bush arrive on scene to help with a domestic dispute in North Memphis.

But within minutes, one officer showed his own aggression.

"I don`t give a f**k. I`m tired of making calls in this mother**ker every week. I`m sick of this s**t. Every f**king week," Holmes said. "I'm not saying this just to say this, but man I get so tired of making calls at this house."

Police had already been to the house about a dozen times that year for reports of abuse to teens running away.

The renter of the house said she called them that day because Cortura Burke and her daughter Tameisha Burgess were fighting.  She said it was physical, while they said it wasn't. Their child, only a few months old at the time, was also in the home.

Soon after the police get there, video shows Burke, his girlfriend and mother yelling.

"Listen, god d**nit, somebody`s f**king a** is leaving. I don`t give a f**k who it is. You, mama, whoever`s name`s on this house stay in this mother**ker. Everyone else gotta go," Holmes says in the video.

Burke starts packing, then argues with the baby`s grandma about whether or not he pays rent.

That's when the officer said he felt threatened and grabbed him by the neck and threw him against a wall. Burke then leaves.

The officers keep talking to the rest of the people there. You can hear in the video Officer Holmes try to justify his actions.

At one point, he threatens to call the Department of Child Services.

Burke comes back to the house and is put in a squad car without resisting.

"I be scared now to this day," Burke said.

Burke`s mother also shows up to the scene. You can hear Officer Holmes greet her.

"This dude`s a piece of s**t. Who? Your son," he says.

Throughout the body camera footage the audio is cut and the cameras are shut off several times.  They aren't allowed to do that without permission.

Since force was used, Officer Holmes calls their lieutenant to the scene.

"He knew he was in the wrong and he didn't want to get in trouble," Burke said.

Burke went to jail for domestic assault and the officers went on with their business — that is, until the case was flagged months later in a random review.

A supervisor found several violations of policy, like excessive force and turning cameras off.

"That's why most of us around here, when we see police we run. Even though we don`t have nothing or nothing like that. We be scared sometimes," Burke said.

A report says police should've kept Burke on scene and separated him from Burgess. Video shows the two of them talking while Burke`s in the patrol car.

A review said Officer Holmes' actions were "unprovoked, needless and beyond the force needed to accomplish his duties."

He resigned before he could be disciplined.

"He still should get punished because for the simple fact if he did me like that, he might've did other people like that," Burke said.

Officer Bush was suspended for three days for turning off his body camera.
He told a review board he didn't remember the events unfolding the way they did and seeing the video made him sick to his stomach.

The supervisor who came to the scene was suspended for two days for failing to review all the body camera footage.

Despite past issues police had with the family and Burke's criminal record, MPD says "officers are expected to respond to all calls in a professional matter regardless of the situation."

Burgess said the situation should've been handled differently.

"There`s always a way to do stuff and that wasn't right in no type of form or way."

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