Some Beale Street employees concerned about safety after violent weekend

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The downtown chaos that ended with an officer being killed stretched from the Pinch District to South Main.

However, it was an employee on Beale Street who said her car is officially considered evidence.

“I started crying immediately,” Dominique Burney said.

She stumbled into a crime scene when she clocked out of work on Beale Street.

“They told me that it was a part of the crime scene and that it had been wrecked,” Burney described.

Her car was involved in the crash that killed Officer Verdell Smith.

“I saw the police officer’s gun holster and everything was still on my windshield,” Burney recalled.

The scary ordeal stole the Beale Street business employee’s peace of mind.

“It does make me feel a little unsafe,” Burney said.

“Some things you just can’t avoid. It’s going to happen. That’s just part of life,” Natalia “Mr. Tat” Hewlett, another employee at BB King’s, said.

Some said police officers, private security, and cameras make them feel secure.

“They’re equipped, they’re always standing guard, and you know they’re always paying attention,” John Martin said.

“I absolutely feel safe,” Randy Hales said.

People felt safe despite three consecutive weekends of violence in the entertainment district.

“It’s Beale Street. It’s Memphis,” Martin said.

Some workers called out the crowds for being too large late at night.

“Man they blessed that only one person gets killed a weekend because if these people really wanted to act a fool down here, it’s enough of them to tear this whole street up,” Hewlett said.

“Go home. That is enough. Two o’clock is enough.”

Despite the differences in how employees WREG spoke to feel, they had one thing in common.

“Gotta make that money. I got to be here,” Martin said.

“I’m surrounded by people that wouldn’t let anything happen to me directly if they can help it,” Burney said.

They are all optimistic about change that might bring a stop to violence in Downtown Memphis.

“Beale Street is great. It’s going to remain great. We going to get it together,” Hewlett concluded.

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