Trauma led Memphis protests to turn violent: report

'They aren’t throwing rocks for fun, they are hurting,' says community leader of protesters

Recent protests in Memphis, Tennessee over a police-involved shooting of a 20-year-old black man boiled over into violence because of a history of similar shootings, community leaders told an American news outlet.

Police officials say Brandon Webber was fatally shot after he repeatedly rammed his car into officers’ vehicles while they were executing an arrest warrant. Webber then, according to police, exited the vehicle he was in armed with a weapon when he was shot.

Police said Webber was wanted on multiple warrants but did not specify what he was charged with, according to Time Magazine.

Officials say 25 people were injured in ensuing protests, mostly police officers when demonstrators began hurling bricks and rocks in the Frayser community in north Memphis.

“We continue to have this cycle here in Memphis and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t address this now. People are hurting, people aren’t in the street for fun right now,” Tami Sawyer, a Memphis mayoral candidate, told Time.

“They aren’t throwing rocks for fun, they are hurting. And until we have a city that mourns with people and not criminalizes them, that throws tear gas at people in their own neighborhoods, were going to see more and more of this,” she added.

The demonstration came one day after the Shelby County District Attorney’s office announced it would not charge a Memphis officer who fatally shot an unarmed 25-year-old in April 2018. Terrence Carlton was unarmed when he was shot, according to body camera footage reviewed by Time.

Pamela Moses, the founder of the Memphis chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement, told the magazine that police “are supposed to be trained to apprehend without deadly force, but when it comes to us, we always have to die.”

“The community right now is angry and traumatized, they just saw someone who looks just like them killed for no reason, they’re not just rioting, they’re traumatized,” Moses, who is also running for mayor, said.

“When they see us, they think they can kill us and use deadly force instead of doing their job,” she added, referring to police.

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