MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Department of Justice held its first in-person public meeting at the National Civil Rights Museum Wednesday since launching a pattern or practice investigation into the Memphis Police Department.
Lucille Collins was one of the dozens of people sharing painful experiences with Memphis police officers to the Department of Justice’s civil rights division.
“You didn’t have to punch me in my face. You didn’t have to mow me to the ground like a man. You didn’t have to do any of that,” she said.
The packed room inside the National Civil Rights Museum was broken into small groups. Each with it’s own DOJ representative taking notes for its pattern or practice investigation into the Memphis Police Department and the City of Memphis.
Among those in the room were the parents of Tyre Nichols who died after a brutal beating at the hands of MPD.
We also joined a small group to listen to the stories of those desperately seeking answers like Sterling Askew, who says his brother Steven Askew was shot at 22 times by officers with 9 of those bullets hitting him.
“We still don’t know why Steven Askew had to die. He was sleep in the car and got shot in the back numerous times,” Askew said.
We also spoke with Lillie Wilborn. WREG Investigators previously uncovered body camera footage from when her 91-year-old father who was using a walking stick was roughly arrested by MPD.
While that case has been resolved, Wilborn still wanting to be heard shared this message to the room and her father who is no longer living.
“If there was anything I could say to my father it is that I am so so sorry that we couldn’t protect him from the people that were supposed to be protecting him,” she said.
The DOJ will have another public meeting at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church from 6:30 to 7:30. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking at a meeting, you can also reach the Department of Justice via email at Community.Memphis@usdoj.gov or by phone at 888-473-3730.