Memphis police director thanks family of Brandon Webber, Frayser community leaders for calling for peace

Updated: Jun. 18, 2019 at 10:35 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The director of the Memphis Police Department addressed the City Council Tuesday regarding MPD’s response to a deadly shooting involving a U.S. marshal task force last week.

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Marshal Service - Gulf Force Regional Fugitive Task Force shot and killed 20-year-old Brandon Webber in the Frayser area. Webber was wanted for a robbery and shooting in Hernando earlier in the month.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is now investigating the shooting, Webber rammed the marshals’ vehicle several times and got out of his own vehicle with a gun. That’s when members of the task force opened fire.

The shooting prompted a violent protest as the crowd threw bricks, signs and other items at officers and their vehicles. Three dozen police and Shelby County deputies were injured. More than two dozen law enforcement vehicles and a nearby fire station were vandalized.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, MPD Director Mike Rallings explained the department’s response to the protest and his decision to go to “level 3,” meaning officers worked through the weekend without days off, increased patrols in the Frayser area and rode two to a car.

“Those commanders are experienced commanders. They have been involved in these incidents since 1998 and before. I have the upmost confidence in their ability to make a decision and execute operation,” Rallings said.

Rallings spoke to the media after his appearance at council and offered his condolences to Webber’s family. He also thanked Webber’s parents and Frayser community leaders for calling for peace.

“The police department will continue to work to build our relationships, but relationships go both ways. We’re going to be there. We are ready and I hope that the good people of Frayser will continue to partner with us,” Rallings said.

“Even though we’ve had some major progress in this community there is yet still a lot of work that we’ve got to do” Pastor Ricky Floyd said.

Director Rallings agrees. He says he now wants to have conversations with the residents of Frayser to figure out the root of their frustration and find a solution.

But now comes the work of bridging the trust gap made even wider last week.

“I do not think that incident represents our community. The people of Memphis are going to have to decide what type of city do you want to live in,” Rallings said. “I think that we want a community that works hand in hand with law enforcement and that works everyday to keep this city safe.”

To further that healing several Frayser churches are now offering free guidance counseling for anyone who wants to talk.

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