People's Conference on Police Misconduct

Posted by Bianca Phillips on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

The Memphis United Coalition will host a conference devoted to police reform on Tuesday, December 17th.

The "People's Conference on Police Misconduct" begins at noon at St. Patrick's Church (277 S. Front) with a "Know Your Rights" workshop and community forum moderated by LeMoyne-Owen College professor Gee Joyner and Rhodes College professor Earle Fisher.


From there, the group will march to Civic Center Plaza downtown at 2 p.m. A public hip-hop "cypher" (a freestyle rap and hip-hop performance) will be held there from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. During that event, representatives from Memphis United will deliver letters demanding police reform to Memphis Police Department (MPD) Director Toney Armstrong, Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich, and members of the Memphis City Council.

An after-party featuring performance by Lurrell Low, Red Planet, YR Generation, Girls Of Gravitron, and Knowledge Nick will be held at K’PreSha Boutique (323 S. Main).

The "People's Conference on Police Misconduct" was planned following an incident on South Main on October 25th, when the organizers of a post-Trolley Tour "cypher" in front of K’PreSha Boutique alleged that police officers responding to a noise complaint over-reacted and escalated the situation. One attendee, Jeffrey Lichtenstein, said his phone was confiscated after he filmed the police action.

A few days before that, on October 21st, Ashley Moore and Paul Garner, volunteers with Homeless Organizing for Power and Equality (H.O.P.E.), were arrested for “obstruction of a highway or sidewalk” when they attempted to record the police searching a man at the homeless hospitality center, Manna House.

After these incidents, Memphis United took on the cause of demanding police reform. The coalition was formed in March 2013 to organize the "People’s Conference on Race and Equality," a peaceful alternative to the KKK rally at Health Sciences Park.

Memphis United is demanding sensitivity and crisis intervention training for Memphis patrol officers, adherence to the MPD’s policy that allows civilians to record police actions, an end to harassment based on race, nationality, disability, economic status, and gender identity, and an the immediate testing of the the 12,000 back-logged rape kits.

Comments (3)

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Police review commission, really? It is a good idea only if it has power. A commission without power is just a sham.

Remember, first of all, this is your police force. It is not some separate entity removed from the control of the citizens it serves. They would like for you to think differently, but, really, you have the power to shape the police force the way you want them to be. You do it at the ballot box. You elect the Mayor, councilmen; the Mayor appoints the police director. Tell the Mayor and councilmen what you want and if you don't get it, you simply withhold your vote. If this is made clear, you will get action.

We need a good police force. That is without question, however, the police serve the citizens and the citizens need to be treated with courtesy and respect, all of the citizens, regardless of zip code.

There is no law against a citizen videoing police activity, from a respectful distance so as to not interfere with their actions. Any policeman that arrests a citizen for exercising this right should be immediately dismissed.

We want the criminals arrested, the quicker, the better, however, we don't want a police force to automatically assume, because of race, sip code, to treat people differently. Any person within the city of Memphis is first a citizen and unless there is justified suspicion or evidence of a crime, they should be treated like innocent citizens.

There should also be a revision of the training manual so as not to get officers injured and/or killed by putting them at a disadvantage when serving warrants, stopping vehicles and, most of all going into houses, etc to serve search warrants. We want our officers to be as safe as the job allows.

Crimes can be solved without the use of brutality or the subjugation of citizens rights. A good example was the 30 drug indictments and arrests. No one civil rights were violated, none were brutalized. This is the way a well trained, civic minded police force should operate. The police don't need to make up stuff to pull a car over, in Memphis, millions can be made by stooping vehicles that are actually breaking the law. Memphis has more bad and speeding drivers than anywhere I have ever been.

I support the police, I just want to be proud of this police force!

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 12/16/2013 at 6:05 PM

In practice, your rights are what the cop in front of you says they are. This is because the police are never disciplined for violating your rights. If you are arrested and later released with no charges filed, or the charges are later dropped, the cop who arrested you is not punished for his or her "error."

This is a noble effort, but I'm pretty sure those sternly worded letters will be placed in the round file as soon as the representatives leave the room.

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Posted by Jeff on 12/17/2013 at 7:50 AM

We've got the links to the Writ of Habeas just delivered to the court, please download and share the links, we want people to know what Frisco, Texas Police Department does when they realize they made multiple mistakes!

Posted by Ken Green on 03/25/2014 at 12:23 PM
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