MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “Excessive and unnecessary” — strong words used by Memphis Police Department’s internal affairs after two officers beat a man with their batons.

Now, WREG has the never-before-seen body camera footage of the incident we uncovered through our partnership with the Daily Memphian and the Institute of Public Service Reporting.

One of the officers involved has received repeated complaints.

It happened in October 2016 when a woman in Nutbush flagged down Memphis officers to help her get her car keys back from her boyfriend Jeremiah Hall.

Body camera video shows officers trying to get Hall to hand over the keys for several minutes, but he refused.

“I appreciate you stop standing behind me sir,” Hall said to Officer Richard Granderson.

That’s when Granderson steps away and calls for backup.

“I’m on a DV, and it’s fixing to get a little rowdy in a couple of minutes,” Granderson said to dispatch.

The body camera video is clear. Hall does not comply with Granderson’s directions to hand over the keys, but he does not threaten officers either.

However, Granderson told MPD’s internal affairs he felt Hall was “belligerent and threatened to inflict bodily harm against him and his partner.” He said “when backup arrived,” he advised Hall “he was under arrest.”

You don’t hear Granderson announce the arrest. Instead, you see him suddenly grab Hall from behind.
His partner’s body camera also captured what happened.

Backup then gets out of the car to see the struggle that ensued. Granderson and Hall are both on the pavement as officers yell to grab the stun gun.

The stun gun is used, but officers say it “had no effect.”

Hall breaks free and tries to run away, but stops shortly after. Several officers tell him to put his hands up.

An officer grabs his baton and strikes Hall in the leg. Granderson uses his baton as well. The two hit Hall over and over again. All while internal investigators say Hall laid there “fetal and defenseless.”

A witness, who was recording the incident, is told to leave. A move also questioned by internal affairs since officers are “prohibited” from interfering with “a citizen filming” police.

Granderson said the witness refused to leave. He “began to resist and tried to strike” him, which is why he took him to the ground.

Video from later that night shows the witness’s injuries.

Internal Affairs disagreed with Granderson’s account and called the move “clearly excessive and unwarranted.”

“You all should be ashamed of yourself bro,” Hall screamed while in handcuffs.

He continued to call officers names. While internal affairs stated Hall “was not respectful to officers,” he was “not threatening or abusive” leading up to the arrest.

Granderson admitted he “should have handled the situation a little different.”

WREG tried to get in contact with Hall and the witness, but had no luck. Internal Affairs said they couldn’t find them either.

Both officers who used their batons were disciplined for excessive force and personal conduct.

Officer had previous complaints

Another charge added to Granderson’s lengthy file.

Since 2001, he’s been questioned for using excessive or unnecessary force six times. He also received eight other complaints for personal conduct. Five were sustained.

Including an incident from 2015 when he gave “his cousin” a “ride in his squad car” to his ex-girlfriend’s place. He used the “lights to illuminate the house” and “the loudspeaker” to get her to come to the door. He was in his “full duty uniform” and “took no action” when his cousin and his cousin’s ex got into a “verbal exchange.”

What Chief Davis plans to do

“We are still in the early stages of evaluating MPD’s policies,” MPD Chief CJ Davis said.

Davis told WREG that includes the handling of excessive force complaints.

“If someone complains on an officer four times that they were discourteous, and it’s that officers word against mine, there should be some type of corrective measures in place for training or whatever the case may be,” Davis said. “Chances are that officer is probably discourteous.”

Davis vowed to put new measures in place.

“There will be measures to put in place for early warning, corrective actions, and also I plan to really look at what the disciplinary matrix looks like, so we can have consistency in our disciplinary processes,” Davis explained.

Mayor Jim Strickland’s Reimagining Policing Advisory Council also asked Davis to take another look at the policy.

“I feel confident that she’s going to implement most of what we recommended to her,” advisory council member Van Turner said.

Officer gets another chance

After the 2016 incident, internal affairs noted Granderson’s disciplinary record to be “quite lengthy.”
One lieutenant asked, “At this point, we have to consider if it is the best interest of the city of memphis” to continue his employment.

Internal Affairs ruling

Ultimately, they decided there’s a “chance to rehabilitate” him.

Since then, Granderson was investigated again for personal conduct.

Granderson remains on the force, but the other officer who used his baton in 2016 resigned.

About this series

The body camera footage was obtained through a partnership with the Daily Memphian and the Institute of Public Service Reporting as we work together to uncover incidents of excessive force and help find solutions.