Memphis Activist Accuses Officers of Harassing Black Man Who Was Only Asking for Job Application
A Memphis-area activist has filed an internal investigation complaint against a local police officer following what he called a “concerning” interaction involving an African-American man earlier this month.
Recounting the June 6 incident, activist Hunter Demster said the man had just asked for a job application at a nearby restaurant when officers started questioning him. Demster told FOX 13 he was on his way home from a meeting when he realized something was off.
Video of the encounter, shot by the activist, briefly shows two officers — one plainclothes, the other uniformed — speaking with the man after stopping him on the sidewalk. One of the officers soon realizes he’s being recorded and orders Demster to turn off his camera.
“No! Absolutely not,” he tells the cop.
Just as Demster begins broadcasting on Facebook Live, the officer walks over and grabs his phone, shutting it off.
” … At this point, you’re interfering with an investigation,” the cop says seconds before the screen goes dark.
Per Memphis PD’s filming policy, officers aren’t allowed to order a person to stop filming and nor can they demand to know why they are being recorded. The policy even allows citizens to be critical of police activity, so long as it doesn’t “jeopardize an officer, suspect or constitute interference.”
Demster, who filed his complaint Wednesday, said he just wants to see all officers be held accountable to the policy.
“They didn’t like that they were on camera, and they didn’t like the idea of being held accountable,” he said of the two cops. The goal “is to get them to start abiding by the laws and policies that are in place to protect them and us.”
A spokesperson for Memphis PD said the department has opened an investigation into the incident because one of its officers was seen in the video. The other officer involved works for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.