Protests in Memphis after Marshals Fatally Shoot 20-Year-Old Dad
The shooting of a 20-year-old man by U.S Marshals at the Frayser neighborhood in Memphis caused a chaotic confrontation between police officers and an angry crowd on Wednesday night. At least 25 officers suffered minor injuries after people threw concrete rocks at them and destroyed cars, windows, and other properties.
Memphis protestors clashed with law enforcement officers Wednesday night in a chaotic scene that drove officers to use tear gas to disperse the crowd after some violent demonstrators vandalized police cars, tore down a concrete wall and then threw the debris at the vehicles and even shattered the windows of a nearby fire station.
According to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, 25 officers suffered minor injuries after the aggression, and six of them had to be treated at the hospital. At least two journalists were also injured.
"I'm impressed by their professionalism and incredible restraint as they endured concrete rocks being thrown at them and people spitting at them," the mayor said.
After the tear gas and rain effectively disperse the crowd, officers kept patrolling the area, and lines of police cars were parked nearby. On Thursday morning, there was a helicopter flying above the scene, and some residential streets were blocked with a heavy police presence in the neighborhood.
A man whose fatal shooting by US marshals sparked an outcry overnight in Memphis, Tennessee, is identified as Brandon Webber. At least 24 officers and deputies were injured in the melee. https://t.co/Zjhb8gUERK pic.twitter.com/4vJgUyczrB— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 13, 2019
Three people were arrested after the chaos: Eddie Richardson, Kleston Beverly, and Joshua Taylor. Taylor, 19, was charged with inciting a riot, while Richardson and Beverly were charged with disorderly conduct, according to WREG.
THE MOTIVE FOR THE PROTEST
The confrontation started after the news spread about the shooting of a 20-year-old man, identified as Brandon Webber, at the front yard of one of his family members.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Keli McAlister explained that members of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force arrived at the Frayser neighborhood looking for Webber, who was a suspect with several felony warrants.
Last night, a 20 year old student named #BrandonWebber was killed in his family's yard by 16 to 20 shots by US Marshals in the Frayser section of Memphis. There have been ongoing uprisings in the city. pic.twitter.com/zFWelR4gmv— Torraine Walker (@TorraineWalker) June 13, 2019
They caught sight of him outside a home and tried to stop him, but Webber "rammed his vehicle into the officers' vehicles multiple times before exiting with a weapon," the bureau said. "The officers fired striking and killing the individual. No officers were injured."
Although the TBI didn’t release more details on the shooting, Webber’s family members told Reuters that the young man received from 16 to 20 bullet impacts.
THE PAIN OF A COMMUNITY
Shelby County Commissioner and Mayor candidate Tami Sawyer took to Twitter to explain what drove the community to flow the streets, saying:
“Don’t judge Frayser without asking a community how it feels to mourn their youth over and over again. What do people do with their pain and trauma when it gets to be too much when a city has ignored them, when their loss is too great and they can no longer yell at the sky?”
Every life lost should matter...every single one. How many times will this be ok? It cannot continue to be.— Tami Sawyer (@tamisawyer) June 13, 2019
She also asked the NAACP to avoid using the word “riot” in this particular incident, alleging that the term “distracts and distances people from the depth of what’s occurring. And allows them to turn their backs on the community expressing hurt.”
Also, let’s not use the racially coded word riot @naacp. It’s become broken windows policing verbiage that is used to justify extreme force during civilian unrest which is often tied to emotional situations such as tonight.— Tami Sawyer (@tamisawyer) June 13, 2019
THE WEBBER FAMILY SPEAKS
Sonny Webber, the father of Brandon Webber, said his son was one of eight kids and had recently become a father for the second time.
Sonny also revealed that Brandon son was arrested for selling marijuana but wasn’t a drug dealer.
U.S. Marshals shot and killed 20-year-old Brandon Webber yesterday in the Frayser community in north Memphis, provoking community protests and clashes with police. pic.twitter.com/GUZwdlBDe4— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 13, 2019
“He wasn’t a bad guy,” he told Reuters. “He wasn’t even living long enough to be a bad guy.”
Webber graduated from Memphis Central High School in 2017, and according to his father, he had planned to take classes at the University of Memphis in August.
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