‘Enough is enough’: Recent uptick in juvenile crime sparks debate for coming election

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 7:34 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A joint sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 14 suspects over the weekend, including a 10-year-old, has the Bluff City talking about youth crime.

While MPD was busy releasing the findings from that sting-op Saturday afternoon, the Unity Walk Against Gun Violence was well underway in South Memphis.

These walks are meant to curb city violence, but some say it has to start with the kids.

”If the community doesn’t get tired of it, it won’t stop,” said Stevie Moore, president and founder of Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives (FFUN). “We have to say enough is enough. And we have to say it everywhere. Enough is enough.”

Saturday marked the eighth walk against gun violence to be held around the city. Moore has been participating since the first one held in 2020.

He says he doesn’t have all the answers, but believes that community is key to fixing this problem.

“Law enforcement can’t stop this. We can’t just lock people up. We gotta have neighbors,” Moore said.

Just in the last two weeks, two 15-year-olds were charged for the murder of Reverend Autura Eason-Williams after a deadly carjacking in Whitehaven.

This case has sparked debate on how to handle young criminals in the race for District Attorney.

Incumbent District Attorney Amy Weirich has made it clear she intends to charge the two juvenile suspects in adult court.

“We look to the entire case. We look to the facts, we look to the charge, we look to the age of the offender and we look to whether or not the offender has ever been in court before,” Weirich said.

Her challenger, Steve Mulroy, says not so fast.

”Regrettably, sometimes you have no choice but to transfer somebody to adult court,” Mulroy said. “But that should be a last resort, not a first instinct. In Shelby County, regrettably, it’s a first instinct.”

Court records show that 15-year-old Miguel Andrade, one of the teenagers arrested after Williams’ murder, was out on probation and wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the deadly shooting.

These cases of juvenile crime are giving voters a lot to think about as they head into the polling booth this coming Thursday.

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