Police respond to Beale Street crowd incident, prompting more questions about security

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Just a few weeks after the Memphis police director testified in front of City Council that Beale Street is getting close to a dangerous tipping point, police say they responded to a crowd of 200 people causing trouble in the middle of the street this weekend.

After police had to take three people to jail in the incident early Sunday morning, it could have implications for one of Memphis’s most popular attractions.

Shelby Anthony, Justin Penn and Jarred Penn

Barricades reportedly couldn’t stop a crowd of people from rushing Beale Street around 2 a.m. Sunday over Memorial Day weekend. Police say it got dangerous, so they closed the street and called in the mounted patrol.

Still, they say Shelby Anthony jumped on the hood of a police cruiser, declaring to cops that she was "from Chicago."

Jade Hill, who was also visiting from the Windy City on Monday, was one of apparently a lot of people who make their way down to Memphis for Memorial Day weekend.

"You can’t believe everything you hear,” she said. "We have a bad reputation, unfortunately, because of the bad seeds in our city but we just like to have a good time like everybody else.”

But police say the incident didn’t end there. They arrested two more people: brothers from Trenton, Tennessee. They say one took a swing at a police horse and the other tried to keep officers from arresting him. They ended up taking both in to custody.

Some say drinking is part of the big problem.

Earlier this month, council voted to reinstate a fee, requiring patrons to pay $5 to get onto Beale Street.

Police Director Mike Rallings admits he used to be against it but now says, “23 stampedes occurred when we didn’t do Beale Street Bucks, and one occurred when we did. So it looks like Beale Street Bucks works.”

But did it work this weekend? That’s the question that remains for authorities.

WREG have contacted authorities Monday, including Memphis Police, Councilman Berlin Boyd, who represents downtown and council chairman Kemp Conrad. We’re still waiting to hear back.


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