Arrested Memphis protester, activist say excessive force used by police

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens of people were arrested in Memphis in connection with protests that happened over the weekend.

Most of them are now out of jail, but some of those protestors said things did not have to escalate like they did. One of the protestors arrested said he should’ve never been arrested in the first place.

For the last five nights, people gathered to protest the death of George Floyd. Several people from different groups that took part in this weekend’s protests said the goal is to always keep things peaceful.

While the initial marches were peaceful, hours later things turned violent.

“Many who participated chose to branch off from the peaceful protest and began wreaking havoc in our city,” a post from Memphis Police said.

Police arrested 31 people Sunday night on charges including disorderly conduct.

Darin Abston

Darin Abston Jr. was also charged this weekend. He had his first court appearance Monday.

“I had to deal with a court situation from Saturday from the protest when I was wrongfully arrested, and a lot of my people were also brutalized with excessive force that was not necessary from the cops,” Abston said.

Some video was released of Abston’s interaction with the police Saturday.

He said things escalated to the point of officers in riot gear and on horses on Beale Street.

“And when that happened, you had a rally together, not un-peaceful, completely peaceful,” Abston said.

Police said they were responding to protesters who threw bottles and rocks at them.

Local leaders and activists have expressed concern about the force used against another protestor arrested, Victoria Jones.

“We’re not going to allow what happened to her to happen to anyone else,” Memphis NAACP President Van Turner said. “We’re going to make sure that she has able and capable representation. The NAACP is working now with Ms. Jones and some of the other protestors. We have to stand with these young people.”

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said the department’s use of force policies are under review, which is something they do on a regular basis.

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