MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A woman says she tried to warn the Memphis Police Department about an officer now charged in the death of Tyre Nichols.
Kadejah Townes said she was at the Walgreens on Knight Arnold on February 21, 2021, when Memphis police got a false shooting call.
“We were returning a Redbox and getting another Redbox,” she said.
Townes said they were about to leave when a male officer approached her asking if she heard gunfire.
“I told him no. He told us we could go ahead and leave,” she said.
She put the car into reverse when she said a female officer then stopped her. Her aunt hit record on her cell phone.
Patrina Finley shared this video with WREG.
“She wouldn’t tell me what I did,” Townes said. “She proceeded to stick her hand in my car, unlock my door, and kind of arm-wrestled me.”
Two male officers each grabbed one of her arms and put her into handcuffs.
“I’m crying out you dislocated my shoulder. He keeps saying, ‘Stop resisting. Stop resisting.’ I’m not resisting. I’m trying to tell you. You can look at the video. My hands are behind my back,” Townes said.
Officers then approached her aunt, and the video ends.
Townes says officers put her into a squad car. She says she demanded they take her to the emergency room for her shoulder pain. Her family followed the squad car, so the officer then pulled over and got out.
“And drew her gun at my brother and my aunt,” Townes said.
Townes said they took her aunt into custody and her to the hospital. She then went to jail, but she said she wasn’t charged with anything.
She filed a complaint with MPD’s Internal Affairs and gave a statement. She didn’t hear the results of their investigation until last month.
She saw the mug shots of the now-former Memphis officers charged in Tyre Nichols’ death.
One of them was Demetrius Haley. The officer who put her into handcuffs that night.
“I wasn’t surprised because of how they did me at Walgreens,” she said.
Townes’ incident was in Haley’s disciplinary file WREG Investigators uncovered. He was written up in Townes case not for using force, but for not filling out the proper paperwork to alert his supervisors that force was used.
Haley told Internal Affairs, “he did not know why” they were “handcuffing Townes,” and the officer who helped him “was not familiar with why” she was pulled over in the first place.
A lieutenant did say Haley “routinely makes good decisions,” and he was sure this was “a limited event.”
The female officer, Alexis Brown, said while investigating the shooting call, she saw Townes “laughing” in her car, so she “initiated the traffic stop.” She said Townes became “verbally and passively resistant.”
She said she put Townes into her squad car for “investigative detention.” She also claimed she found marijuana in the car but “disposed” of it.
Internal Affairs said Brown violated a number of policies including excessive force.
We have requested the entire Internal Affairs case file and bodyworn camera footage.
Townes’ attorney Carlos Moore said he’s also looking into the matter.
The case was never turned over to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office for review to see if any of the officers did anything criminally wrong.
A month after the incident, the then-DA and the former police director created a new policy — all cases of excessive force by an officer that resulted in disciplinary action would be sent to the DA’s office for review.
Brown quit before any disciplinary action could be taken. We asked MPD if that’s why the case was never sent to the DA. We have yet to hear back.
“And for them to give her time to quit on her own, that wasn’t fair at all,” Townes said. “It’s not right. There needs to be another system. A better system.”
The office of the new District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated “the office may be open to looking at the case. However, a final decision has not been made as the DA was just made aware.”
To this day, Townes doesn’t know why she was forced out of her car and into handcuffs.
“And we still don’t know what we did. I still don’t know what we did,” she said.
Townes’ attorney Carlos Moore is also looking into the matter and Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said they may be open to looking at the case. However, a final decision hasn’t been made since Mulroy was just made aware.
We will let you know when we find out more.