MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “We at Jim Strickland’s house. Tell Jim Strickland we coming to see him,” Keedran “TNT” Franklin said in a live Facebook video.
Demonstrators made an unwelcome house call at Mayor Jim Strickland’s door.
“Ya’ll better get here. People dead all over his front yard,” Franklin shouted in the social media clip.
Protesters played dead and acted as if they were hanging themselves in Mayor Strickland’s front yard.
“That’s what he wants. He wants us to die,” TNT said.
The demonstration was held by the Memphis Coalition of Concerned Citizens, one of the groups who contributed to the protest that shut down the I-40 bridge downtown.
“The discomfort we have been feeling from poverty, poor education, bad police-community relations — we just wanted him to feel that same discomfort in some way,” Franklin told WREG.
The group was also protesting — what they called — a violation of their rights when demonstrators were blocked from walking near an event at Graceland over the summer.
“There were some trespassers,” Mayor Strickland told WREG in a sit-down interview. “There were seven trespassers on my yard looking in the windows.”
Strickland was not thrilled to find demonstrators doing a “die-in” in his yard this morning.
“To try and intimidate my family, my wife and my young kids — I think is inappropriate. It’s not going to get them anywhere. We don’t need trespassing and breaking the law to try and make a point,” the mayor explained.
Franklin said, “We acted lawfully.”
However, Strickland said the police director “would handle it.”
According to the Memphis Police Department, “We are aware the incident that occurred this morning concerning several individuals who trespassed on the property of Mayor Jim Strickland’s private residence. We are monitoring the situation and will have additional patrols assigned to the area.”
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens send WREG this explanation for the reason it protested on Monday:
“It has been our focus to assist in the resolution of the many difficulties that plague our city. Our meeting with the mayor was met with a lack of enthusiasm for the participation of citizens, a rejection of ideas, and condescension. The mayor’s use of the same people, to solve the problems that plagued our city 50 years ago, is a sure recipe for failure.
Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) and the City of Memphis colluded in the violation of the First Amendment rights of many citizens by not allowing them passage on a public, Federally funded street. On August 15 of this year, the Memphis Police Department (MPD), being directed by EPE, acted as private security for EPE by ensuring that citizens were not allowed access to Elvis Presley Boulevard. When confronted with their decision to violate the law of the land, each entity, shamelessly, participated in the buffoonery of a comedy routine by each, quickly, pointing the finger of blame at the other.
We were incredulous at the military equipment deployed by the MPD in a show of force against citizens, old men and old women, and even children. This act rivals our outrage that the mayor and his MPD even discussed the use of water cannons and dogs on mere citizens on the I-40 bridge, a tactic that we thought we would NEVER see employed again in the South!
EPE has made hundreds of millions of dollars in the community of Whitehaven, which, not coincidently, happens to be nearly all black. However, the investments of EPE in that community are zilch! What relationships do you have with black businesses in Whitehaven? How many contracts for your many needs are awarded to black businesses?
EPE does not pay its employees a livable wage, which fuels the cycle of poverty. Is it your desire to ensure that the crime rate escalates with your level of low wages? Does it concern you that the Federal government must step in to supplement your employees’ income with food stamp and subsidized housing?
Would you rather that we just DIE, “and decrease the surplus population?”
The Coalition of Concerned Citizens”