MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been 30 years but Dewayne Murrell can vividly recall his first negative encounter with a police officer. It was at his home and he was only nine.
“I said, ‘Who is it?’ and cracked the door open, and the cop shoves the door open and points the gun and presses the gun in my forehead,” he wrote.
Murrell was one of over 200 people who responded to Rep. Antonio Parkinson’s Facebook post that asked, “How old were you when an officer pulled a gun on you for the first time?”
The majority of those who responded were black, and acknowledged it has happened to them.
“You think about the trauma associated with that and the trauma of the entire communities. It’s like vicious cycle,” said Parkinson.
While Parkinson anticipated the response, he was surprised by the stories.
“And I tell you another surprise is how many females, African American females, were victim to law enforcement officers pulling guns on them,” Parkinson said.
Tennessee House Democrats introduced the George Floyd Act, eight amendments to a Republican-sponsored bill, that would change the way officers use or threaten to use excessive or deadly force.
Parkinson said he’s trying to convince lawmakers across the aisle the problem is real and must be addressed.
“Absolutely good officers out there but there are absolutely bad officers and we have to come out of denial that there are bad officers out there.”
He said he’s not trying to make people feel guilty. He wants to save lives.