MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two women have filed a lawsuit against the City of Memphis alleging abuse of power by Memphis Police officers during an encounter in 2021.
One of the plaintiffs, Kadeja Townes, first shared her story with us back in February following the death of Tyre Nichols.
Townes said she and her aunt, Patrina Finley, were at the Walgreens on Knight Arnold on February 21, 2021 when Memphis Police got a false shooting call.
As the women were getting ready to leave, two male officers reportedly approached the car and asked if the women heard any gunfire. When they said no, the officers said they could leave.
When the women began to leave the parking lot, they were pulled over by a female officer, identified as Alexis Brown, and her male partner.
The lawsuit states that Officer Brown asked for Townes’ ID because the women were laughing. When Townes tried to explain that she already spoke to another officer, Brown ignored her and allegedly said, “Y’all over here laughing. I need to see your ID. As a matter of fact, get out of the car.”
That’s when Brown allegedly reached into the vehicle, unlocked the car, and opened the door.
Patrina Finley recorded the incident and shared it with WREG. Townes said her shoulder was dislocated when two male officers grabbed one of her arms to handcuff her.
Townes told us the officer that handcuffed her was Demetrius Haley, one of the former Memphis Police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols. Haley was written up for not alerting supervisors to the use of force. However, he is not named in the lawsuit.
Townes said she was taken to the emergency room and then jail before she was released without any charges.
The lawsuit states Finely was also handcuffed and placed in the back of the squad car but was later released. It also says when Finley began following the squad car, she was stopped again, arrested, and taken to jail.
The women said the officers never told them why they were stopped.
Officer Alexis Brown resigned before her disciplinary hearing, which eventually determined that she violated MPD’s use of force policy.
We asked MPD for the body cam footage from this incident and were told it would cost more than $400.
Finley and Townes are asking for compensatory damages of $500,000 each for damages such as physical injuries, humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, and mental anguish.