Woman says Shelby County deputies refused to show her a warrant when searching home

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – A South Memphis woman says three Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies forced their way into her home while serving an arrest warrant for a man she says doesn’t live there.

Imari Reynolds captured part of exchange with deputies on camera Wednesday. 

You can hear her demanding that deputies show her a warrant as they search her home. They instead offer her a business card and at one point refer her to the county’s online warrants database.  

“I felt like it was a reasonable request. If you have a warrant, just let me see the warrant. I just don’t get why that was an issue,” said Reynolds.  

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office tells WREG that “deputies do not carry fugitive arrest warrants. A copy of an arrest warrant is not required to be given to any resident.”  

But Reynolds said that one deputy briefly held up what she was led to believe was an arrest warrant but wouldn’t let her read it before pushing past her into her home. 

“I’m still asking for the sheet of paper he claims is this warrant. He said, ‘You’re not getting this sheet of – you’re not getting this paper’,” said Reynolds.  

University of Memphis constitutional law professor Steve Mulroy said what Reynolds describes sounds like a violation of due process. 

“They absolutely need a warrant in order to enter the home absent some sort of hot pursuit emergency, and when they’re there, they need to show her the warrant. She needs to be able to look at the warrant and examine it herself,” said Mulroy. 

“It clearly felt like a violation of rights. I felt very violated in every way, in every sense of the matter,” said Reynolds.  

WREG checked and there is an active warrant for a man for statutory rape with Reynolds’ address listed on it. But Reynolds says she’d never heard of the man until Wednesday. 

“The worst part was the feelings of helplessness in my own home, the place that I’ve created of safety for myself by people who claimed that they’re gonna protect me,” Reynolds said. 

The sheriff’s office confirmed that Reynolds has filed a formal complaint with its Bureau of Professional Standards and Integrity but said it couldn’t comment on the complaint.  

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