On Monday morning, the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation held a small but spirited picket in front of the Memphis Police headquarters. We spoke in solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson, Mo., but focused our picket on police terror in Memphis. We passed out copies of MBAF’s “The Body Count,” a report about the 23 people killed by Memphis cops from February, 2012, to October, 2013. Nowhere in America did any police department kill more people than Memphis cops killed during this time period. Most people in the black community in Memphis don’t know this because of a deliberate cover-up by the politicians and the police, aided and abetted by the corporate media, and we spent time talking about this as people passed by. Several people actually stopped and took time then and there to read “The Body Count” because they had no idea that the Memphis Police Department leads the nation in the use of deadly force.
We took our protest to the very front door of Memphis police headquarters, which the cops clearly did not like. Among other things, we chanted “Stop Police Murder! Prosecute the Cops!”, and eventually a female black deputy sheriff (the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is located in the same building as the MPD) came out and harassed us, claiming we were blocking the sidewalk, which we clearly were not doing. In Memphis, it is clear that the police do not like any protest, even the smallest ones that they do not control through a group like the Midtown (so-called Mid-South) Peace and Justice Center. They like it even less if you bring it right to their front door , as we did, and accuse them of murder.
The city government and all their allies are intent on not raising anything about the deaths of people in Memphis by MPD officers. Recently, the local U.S. Congressman, Steve Cohen, sent a letter to Congress calling for an investigation of Ferguson, Mo., but he never mentioned one word about the police murders in Memphis, including the shooting of a 15-year-old kid, Justin Thompson, (killed in September 2012), who was believed to be molested by an MPD officer at the time, Terrance Shaw, who shot and killed this kid. It’s clear that the Memphis police want everyone to forget the murderous police reign of terror between February 2012 and October 2013, that killed another teenager, 19-year-old Christian Freeman. The police refused requests for access to their files by family members, Black Autonomy and others. This clamming up continued with a cover-up by the Shelby County Medical Examiner, who illegally covered-up their files.
But can you really cover up the deaths of 23 people? You can if nobody speaks out or if everybody is afraid. We have made it our duty to expose these crimes and continue to speak out, even though the local media and the government work to silence us through fear, intimidation, and disruption of our work. Working with the Midtown Peace and Justice Center, the Memphis police have created a bogus Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board to funnel complaints back into the local government or even into the police department itself. They have also created a number of bogus organizations which purportedly protest police brutality, but mainly just want to take over existing campaigns by Black Autonomy and help the police “keep the peace.” This police campaign is a counterinsurgency campaign to stifle Black Autonomy, and to hide the facts of those who have been murdered. This white-controlled effort is part of the Progressive Plantation by the Midtown Peace and Justice Center to be the only protest movement in Memphis, and just put up a number of black stooges to fool the masses of people.
Black People must call out the Midtown Peace and Justice Center for all their nefarious activities. They are worse than snitches or spies. They are Peace Police working as sworn unarmed MPD officers to pacify the black community through lies, subversion and treachery, along with the media and local government. We can truthfully say that most cities would have had mass street protests, or would have been in rebellion by now if the cops had killed 23 people in their cities. The fact that Memphis is so quiet, even though it leads the nation in the number of people killed by the police, is also related to the fact that Memphis is the poorest big city in the country, and that nobody in this city hardly knows this or knows what it means.
We must redouble our efforts to get the facts out in Memphis, and around the country about the police murders in this city. We must work to educate our people, and to encourage them to speak up against the police. We must encourage black activists in this city to get over their own fear and laziness, and begin to speak out about police terrorism against the black community in this city. We must let the entire world know about police murders in this city, organize our people in protest, and take the fight to the enemy.
Below is The Body Count.
Memphis Black Autonomy Federation
P.O. Box 16382
Memphis, TN. 38116
Memphis Leads Nation in Deadly Force Used by Police
The Body Count:
Victims of Police Terror in Memphis, Tennessee, In 2012 and 2013
Compiled by the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, P.O. Box 16382, Memphis, TN 38186-0382,
(901)674-8430, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Victims in 2012
Jeremy McCraven, 20, was shot to death in the back by police on Feb. 10, 2012, while allegedly driving a stolen car.
William Howlett, 41, died on March 10, 2012, after becoming “unresponsive” after police chased and arrested him for allegedly attacking his girlfriend.
Randy Green died in March, 2012. A family friend said that Green, who was blind, was pepper-sprayed to death by Memphis police officers on the campus of the University of Memphis, where Green was trying to use the library.
4. Dewayne Bailey, 38, was shot to death on May 8, 2012, after falling asleep in his car in a store parking lot. Witnesses disputed the claim by police that when they woke Bailey up, he got out of his car and fought with them, then got back in his car and started driving it.
5. Christian Freeman, 19, was shot to death on June 12, 2012, downtown on Beale Street. Police alleged that Freeman threatened them with a knife. Family members said Freeman had mental health problems and that police knew this because they had arrested him in April for disorderly conduct.
6. Hernandez Dowdy, 36, was shot to death on June 27, 2012. Police say Dowdy, who was Black, was a carjacking suspect whom they chased and that they killed him because they mistakenly thought he had a gun. The owner of the car, a white woman, had filed a false report.
7. Lorenzo Davis, 28, died on July 3, 2012, after police chased and arrested him for allegedly selling drugs. He collapsed after he was in custody. Doctors told his mother that he had severe head injuries, internal bleeding and a broken leg.
Delois Epps, 54, died on Aug. 26, 2012, in a car crash caused by a Memphis police officer. Witnesses said the officer was speeding at the time of the crash and did not use the flashing lights and the siren on his car as required by police regulations.
Makayla Ross, 13, died in a car crash with her mother, Delois Epps, on Aug. 26, 2012. (See above.) Officer Alex Beard, who caused the crash, was later fired, and in May 2013 was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.
Justin Thompson, 15, was shot to death on Sept. 24, 2012, by off-duty police officer Terrance Shaw, who claimed Thompson tried to rob him. Shaw, who admitted that he knew Thompson prior to killing him, resigned when questioned about his relationship with the boy.
Charles Livingston, 32, was shot to death on Dec. 27, 2012. Police claimed they killed Livingston while he was fleeing from a McDonald’s restaurant, which he allegedly robbed, and that he pointed a gun at them while he was escaping. For over 30 years the MPD has been under a U.S. Supreme Court decision forbidding them from shooting “fleeing felons” like Livingston in the back
Police Victims in 2013
12. Donald Moore, 67, was shot to death on Jan. 11, 2013. Police claim that when they came to Moore’s home to serve him with a warrant for animal cruelty, he pointed a gun at them. However, when the cops came busting into the house, they broke down the door in the middle of the night and never announced they were police officers. Then Moore was fatally shot when he went for his firearm on a night stand.
13. Steven Askew, 24, was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2013, after falling asleep in his car waiting for his girlfriend to come home from work. Two police officers, who were called to the area on another matter, claimed that when they approached Askew’s car, he pointed a gun at them and they killed him. Askew was licensed to carry a gun. A video of the incident disputes the police version of events.
Horace Whiting, 63, was shot to death on March 10, 2013. Police claim Whiting had a shotgun when they confronted him in front of his house and that he fired at them when they told him to put the gun down. A neighbor of Whiting said Whiting never pointed the gun at anyone, and that he was on his own porch.
15. George Golden, 42, died on April 5, 2013, from injuries he sustained on March 27 after he was shot, kicked and beaten by two police officers in the parking lot of a Walmart store, where police claim Golden was shoplifting. A cell phone video taken by a bystander shows that one cop beat and kicked Golden while he was lying on the ground after being shot by another cop. Police made no reference to the fatal shooting in their final incident report, covering up the cause of death.
16. Daniel Brock, 47, was shot to death on April 10, 2013. Police claim that when they stopped Brock for an alleged incident of “road rage,” they shot him because they thought he had a gun as he was approaching them. Brock’s son said his father had a mental illness and was taking medication for it.
17. Amjustine Hunter, 28, was shot to death in his car on April 23, 2013, at a gas station. At least one witness disputed the police story that after they stopped Hunter for “suspicious” activity, police shot him when he tried to run them over with his car.
18. John Walker died on May 18, 2013, when an off-duty police officer hit the motorcycle Walker was riding while working as a traffic escort for a funeral.
19. Police claim an unidentified man shot himself to death on May 24, 2013, after he allegedly shot at police officers at an apartment complex. To date, no public report has been found verifying the story of the police.
20. Byron Kelley, 32, was shot to death on June 4, 2013, in Olive Branch, Miss., by Memphis police and DEA agents.
21. Johnny Taylor, 33, was shot to death on July 1, 2013. Police said they killed Taylor after he fired at them outside his home.
Marvin Amerson allegedly committed suicide on July 23, 2013, according to the MPD, after a standoff with officers following a bank robbery.
Aaron Dumas, 32, was killed on Oct. 15, 2013, when tactical officers of the Memphis police department threw tear gas chemicals into the house where they had chased Dumas, causing the house to catch on fire and burning him alive. Several neighbors had their homes damaged by the flames.