A 22-year-old Black man named Monterrious Harris has come forward with allegations of police brutality in Memphis. Harris claims that he was beaten by a group of Memphis police officers, which included five of the former officers who are now charged with the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. The alleged assault took place just three days prior to the attack on Nichols, and according to Harris, the officers did not identify themselves during the incident.
Harris says he was sitting in his car at the Twin Oak Apartments when several masked men approached him with guns drawn, according to NBC News. One of the men banged on his car window while another blinded him with a flashlight. The men then ordered Harris to get out of his car, and when he refused, they threatened to shoot. Harris tried to flee, but he backed into a wall, and the men closed in on him, slamming him to the ground and punching him in the face.
Harris was taken to jail and then to a hospital for medical attention. A Jan. 4 affidavit of complaint filed by the arresting officers revealed that the five officers involved in Nichols’ death were part of the nine-member team that arrested Harris. The document did not indicate whether any officers were involved in a physical altercation, but Harris claims that he was beaten by the officers.
Harris plans to sue the city and its police department for the alleged assault. His lawyer, Robert Spence, says he has requested Harris’ medical records but has not received them yet. The five former officers involved in the incident with Nichols are charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault. All five officers were fired from the police department after Nichols’ death.
The Scorpion unit, or the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, was an anti-violence unit launched in November 2021 in response to the city’s rising murder rate and calls for action from the community. Harris claims that the car did not smell like marijuana and that the gun found in his car was not his. He also says he considers himself lucky that he did not suffer the same fate as Nichols.
Two other Memphis men, Glenn Harris and Demarius Hervey, have also come forward with allegations of violence from former officer Emmitt Martin. The allegations and the recent release of video showing the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols have sparked nationwide outrage and condemnation. Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have also been relieved of duty pending an administrative investigation into Nichols’ death.
In light of these recent events, Harris’ allegations of police brutality raise questions about the actions of the Memphis police department and the treatment of Black individuals in the city. The lawsuit filed by Harris will shed more light on the incident and the actions of the officers involved.
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