MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Multiple people are facing charges after a second demonstration in downtown Memphis on Saturday night.
According to a Facebook post from the Memphis Police Department, this began around 11:33 p.m. while police were trying to disperse a crowd in the area of Beale Street and Main Street.
Officers gave an order for the crowd to disperse and several people got mad and allegedly jumped on top of squad cars.
Additional officers were called in and bike racks were used to help contain the crowd.
MPD says the crowds began to push through the bike racks and officers, causing the racks to fall over. The two individuals and officers holding down the bike racks fell to the ground.
Officers also say they saw several people throwing bottles into the crowd from a rooftop in the area of B.B. King and Beale Street.
According to police, people were throwing fireworks at them and rocks were thrown at businesses and squad cars for several hours. People were driving erratically and MPD received multiple shots-fired calls.
Around 2:30 a.m., a person driving near Beale Street and Fourth allegedly fired shots at an officer. The officer was not hit but the suspect was taken into custody.
Another person shot at an officer an hour later but the alleged suspect fled the scene and has not been taken into custody.
Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings released a statement on Facebook surrounding the fact police were wearing riot gear:
“Some have asked why our officers were wearing riot gear protection. I feel that this question is asked because some do not know all of the details. Clearly, you can see that our officers were wearing riot gear protection to protect themselves and so that they can protect our citizens. I have said that we support peaceful protest, but we will not stand by and let the few that want to wreak havoc tear down our city. The peaceful protest that took place earlier in the day was powerful and had meaning. The riot that occurred later in the downtown area only brought chaos and civil unrest. My hat goes off to those who seek justice through peaceful protest; they have meaning, heart, and purpose.”Michael Rallings, Dir. of Memphis Police Department
Local Activist Hunter Demster witnessed the events from Saturday night and says there is far more to the story.
“I don’t understand how they can’t grasp that to form that line of riot cops brandishing their billy clubs, paramilitary assault uniforms, AR-15s, how that is not going to escalate the situation,” Demster said.
Multiple people were taken into custody and are facing weapon charges, obstruction of roadways, rioting and evading arrest.
Activists say that many of the people arrested Saturday were not a part of the protest and took issue with the arrests.
Victoria Jones, Geno McGary, Damion Smith, Kameron Miller, Likisha Davis and Rodney White have since been released on their own recognizance.