Social media fuels anger in Frayser officer-involved shooting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Emotions ran high on the streets of Frayser on Wednesday night after yet another officer-involved shooting in America.

Wearing full riot gear, Memphis Police tried to calm the angry crowd. The crowd was undoubtedly made "angrier" by rumors circulating on social media.

"We seem to be living in a world of outrage. People want to jump immediately to being outraged over a situation. And then to fuel that outrage with outright lies, that's a dangerous combination," Criminal Defense Attorney Claiborne Ferguson said.

Many posts claimed Brandon Webber was killed by Memphis Police, even though their department only stepped in to help U.S. Marshals after the shooting. Other posts insisted U.S. Marshals shot Webber 16 to 20 times, those claims were repeated by County Commissioner, and mayoral candidate, Tami Sawyer.

Others said Webber was handcuffed when he was killed, but none of the facts corroborate those details.

"We should all wait and make sure we know exactly what happened before we spread misinformation. MPD has been very supportive of protests, but we will not allow violence or destruction of property," MPD Director Michael Rallings said.

Louis Brownlee, MPD's public information officer, even hit back. He posted on his personal Facebook page that "spreading lies, gossip and innuendo serves no one justice."

"I understand the community's frustration and anger. We do have issues and problems that need to be addressed in this country. Again, I just wish that we would wait until the facts come to light. I hope that the investigation is done transparently and open," he continued.

We wanted to give Tami Sawyer a chance to talk to us about the posts she made on social media during the initial stages of the investigation, but she hasn't returned our requests for comment.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.