Girlfriend of Memphis Honors Student ‘Killed by Cops in Hail of Bullets’ Goes in to Labor as Riots Break Out
George Martin, Daily Mail, June 13, 2019
Violent clashes between police and protesters broke out in the streets of a working-class Memphis neighborhood after a 21-year-old black man was shot dead by U.S. Marshals during an attempted arrest in his family’s front yard.
The violent clashes broke out after Brandon Webber was shot and killed by officers on Wednesday night as they tried to arrest him for outstanding felony warrants outside his home in Frayser in North Memphis.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations said officers went to the home at about 7pm to look for Webber who had outstanding felony warrants.
Officers said they saw Webber get into a vehicle and that he then proceed to ram task force vehicles several times before exiting with a weapon.
Marshals then opened fire on Webber. He died at the scene, according to officers.
The Bureau would not say how many marshals fired or how many times Webber was shot. They have also refused to say what the felony warrants were.
Webber’s cousin Demetrick Skinner and Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer both said that as many as 20 shots were fired during the incident.
The victim’s aunt, Yolanda Holmes, told the Daily Memphian that police claimed he was shooting at an officer but the family were still trying to confirm details.
Webber, who had a history of arrests on minor drug-related and driving charges, was the eldest of eight children and had two young children of his own — a two-year-old boy and a newborn daughter.
He was described as an honors student who graduated from Memphis Central High School in 2017 and was enrolled at the University of Memphis.
The mother of his toddler son was in labor in hospital when Webber was killed. She filmed a Facebook Live video crying in her hospital bed after hearing the news. It is not yet clear if she is pregnant with Webber’s third child.
In the hours after his death, friends flooded Webber’s Facebook page with messages of love, grief, disbelief and outrage at the authorities responsible for his death.
‘He was loving and a very sweet kind person,’ Diamond Butler, who has known Webber since middle school, told DailyMail.com. ‘I just want everybody to know he was a caring person. He took care of his kids.’
Shocking photos show armed police facing off with an angry crowd as the streets descended into chaos following the fatal shooting with hundreds of riot-gear clad officers called into to quell the unrest.
At least two dozen police officers and two journalists were injured during the confrontation. Six officers were taken to hospital suffering mostly minor injuries.
It was not clear how many civilians were hurt but three people were arrested.
Officers cordoned off several blocks near the scene as people threw rocks and bricks at law enforcement during the tense clash.
By 11pm, officers had used tear gas and most of the crowd dispersed.
Officers on horseback patrolled the area and lines of police cars with flashing blue lights were parked along the street. An ambulance could be seen at the outer edge of the scene. A helicopter flew overhead as police cars trickled away.
Residential streets remained blocked and a heavy police presence remained in the area on Thursday morning.
In identifying Webber on Twitter early Thursday, Shelby County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer said ‘Every life lost should matter…every single one. How many times will this be ok? It cannot continue to be.’
Memphis police officers were called in to help with crowd control as word of the shooting spread on social media.
As more protesters showed up, more Memphis officers and Shelby County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene.
The situation then escalated, and officers donned protective riot gear as people threw rocks and bricks. Police cars and a nearby fire station were damaged.
Police director Michael Rallings implored residents to wait until the TBI finishes its investigation before spreading possible misinformation about the shooting.
‘I need everyone to stay calm,’ Rallings said.
While police support the right of people to demonstrate, Rallings said ‘we will not allow any acts of violence.’
Passion Anderson, a 34-year old student, brought her 13-year-old son to the scene early Thursday.
She grew up in Memphis and recently moved back to the Frayser neighborhood, a mostly low- to middle-income area with modest single-family homes and apartments.
She said she worried about her son’s safety every day in Memphis which struggles with crime and gang activity.
‘I just want him to see this, know what’s going on, to be conscious,’ she said. ‘I fear for him all the time.’