Behind the Headlines – June 14, 2019

Behind the Headlines – June 14, 2019

– (female announcer)
Production funding for Behind the Headlines is made
possible in part by: The WKNO Production Fund, The WKNO Endowment Fund, And by viewers like you. Thank you.>> captioning provided by caption associates, llc>>Frayser, the People’s
Convention, and more, tonight on Behind the Headlines.>>captioning provided by caption associates, llc>>>>I’m Eric Barnes with the Daily Memphian, thank you for joining us, I’m joined by a round table of journalists starting with Jared boyd with The Daily Memphian, thank you for being here.>>Thank you.>>Bill Dries with The Daily Memphian and Toby Sells with the Memphis Flyer. We will start in Frayser and talk through maybe not — some of what we have learned since, what we are trying to learn since what happened with it, was it Wednesday night. We taped this Friday morning. So as of Friday morning, Bill, what is next with the investigations, with next steps, and what kind — we will delve deeper and deeper, but what’s next?>>The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation continues its investigation into the fatal shooting of Brandon Webber who was being arrested by a Federal Task Force for the U.S. Marshal Service for an accusation of a violent robbery in Mississippi. So that investigation continues. If it follows the pattern of past investigations, it will take quite some time for that to complete. In Frayser itself, as we taped this on a Friday morning, overnight, Memphis police went to a different plan for coverage of that particular area, and other parts of the city, because of what happened on Wednesday evening. There were no one-man police cars, what is called a level three, two police officers to a car, those kind of measures taken.>>And there were no protests or reactions of note last night?>>No.>>Right? I mean, after what had happened, and the protests and tear gas and rock throwing that went on Wednesday.>>Yeah, and reaction, meanwhile, is growing from a number of different fronts. The national NAACP says it is watching the developments very closely. The tendency, ACLU says it has questions about why a Federal Task Force was involved in coming here, in all of this. There are expressions of concern, there are many questions about what happened in the initial incident and what has happened since then.>>And Jared, you have a story up today about — you touched a lot of community leaders in Frayser, and many who said this is not fully indicative of what we are as Frayser.>>There was a Frayser Exchange Club meeting yesterday, a lot of the media was there. I’m not sure how often media — how often they have meetings like that. Surely not often. So there was a reason we were there, and I think the leaders that were typically at the meetings are typically talking about business development, community news, even things going on in the school system in Frayser. They invited us because they wanted the message to be clear and they wanted to stand in solidarity between pastors, people who work in nonprofit organizations in that neighborhood, and business owners and homeowners who are concerned. They wanted to make sure that they got out in front of this incident, and they wanted to make sure that they sent a clear message that Frayser isn’t — at least they feel that Frayser is not a community that an incident like this is indicative of.>>It’s an area where there’s a tremendous amount of pride. It’s ironic that the governor was there earlier in the week.>>The day before.>>The day before, talking about a re-entry program with convicts, talking about education, if I’m not mistaken.>>Summer youth program.>>Summer youth program. I mean –>>In this specific area where this happened, one day later.>>Right. Toby, your thoughts on the week that was.>>Well, it was sad, kind of a crazy week, and I think the questions that are left behind are the ones that the ACLU put out in a statement on Thursday, it said that were attempts made at de-escalating or resolving the situation in different ways, and Mr. Webber, were the reports really accurate and I think that’s what we are struggling with, the response to this and as Bill said, why were the feds there to try to pick up this guy. So we are left with a lot of stuff, and that’s what we are going to have to deal with going forward.>>Well, one thing on that, you brought that up, that when that first came that a U.S. Marshal’s task force was involved, it wasn’t the local police, it came out I believe it was yesterday that the Hernando District Attorney, they were trying to pick up Brandon Webber on accusations and charges, is that right, Bill, and because it’s across state lines, we sort of forget that. It’s 20 minutes down the road. It’s actually across state lines, so the U.S. Marshals are very serious, there are horrifying accusations against –>>Was a violent robbery, someone’s car was taken from them, they were shot five times, however, there are instances where police departments contact another department across state lines and they work together on these kind of around these — warrants being served without the use of a Federal Task Force.>>Yeah, and part of what is so hard to reconcile, and in this age of social media, I mean, you can see all kinds of information about Brandon Webber, the young man who was killed, you can see that he was a really good — he was a loved student at Central High School, he was a father, he had many friends and family members that are — and I will start with Jared, I mean, it’s just so hard to reconcile what his friends and family are saying about him and the pain they obviously feel with what he is accused of doing prior to the shooting.>>Well, I guess I have a bit of an interest in his side, one, he came from a community, I think that’s pretty similar, but also, I spent a lot of time outside of Brandon’s family home yesterday talking to his uncle and sort of gauging the mood of people who were mourning him in their own way, and you know, his uncle was very honest with me. You know, Brandon was a straight A student, and Brandon cared a lot about school, but Brandon lived in the streets and Brandon had to have a pistol. He wasn’t the type of kid that was dumb enough to — in his uncle’s words, up his pistol at the sight of authority. But he — his uncle, his name was Carlos, was like this was a kid who needed to survive in that environment, and he also, you know, showed me that he felt a bit responsible because he thought that Brandon looked up to him in those circumstances and he felt like he had given a — he didn’t express to Brandon that this was not the way to go.>>There was a Facebook video, I think, that was on his Facebook page of him, where he is selling marijuana, and a we link to it as well. Obviously everybody has covered this, I don’t want to focus on The Daily Memphian but his friend Michael Cole wrote a painful, heartfelt remembrance of him of don’t judge him, and talked about yeah, you may have sold drugs but that was how he made money. It was a fascinating — fascinating from Michael Cole.>>Go ahead.>>That’s one source of the discussion.>>Absolutely.>>That is underway. Because this becomes a process that has happened in every incident that is generally similar to this, where someone is killed by police or wounded by police. There is this process that takes place, and as a result, the person who is no longer there, to defend themselves or to explain themselves becomes either/or.>>Yes.>>They become either the straight A student, or they become the person who’s the drug dealer. And I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we know that none of of us are the extremes in our lives. We are a combination of all of those things.>>I think that process that Bill is talking about has become — well it’s sad number one that this has become a process, right that, we have to go through this enough times where we can kind of understand the rhythm of the emsoweds, but know, but it is heartening that we are humanizing these people and trying to look at all different facets of it. You’ve got a photo that shows a father, a graduate, and all those other things, but the Hernando area District Attorney John Champion said that no doubt they were dealing with a very violent person and what he did was, you know — it was awful. And the person that he shot five times is expected to make a full recovery, but he said — they said it wasn’t something they just went down there rough shod in Memphis and this occurred, this was a violent felon who obviously did not want to go to jail and they ended up from my knowledge having to do what they had to do, and that’s –>>The D.A.>>That’s the D.A. in Hernando and every bit of it is sad and hopefully something will change this time. I don’t know.>>It’s been interesting to see the coverage, and we’ve talked to other people — people, the media, the coverage of crime and coverage of a big incident like this, to try to find — to sort of struggle to get the news out there, but also, to humanize, to not jump to conclusions. It looks like he is guilty, the police say he jumped out with it, he rammed the vehicle and had a gun, but you know, I’m not saying anyone is deceiving. It’s just sometimes the facts as they play out, it takes weeks, not hours to figure out what really happened.>>That’s right.>>It takes weeks, not hours, to figure out who these people involved really are. And that’s just an interesting struggle that I think everyone is trying — all the media organizations, in varying degrees are trying to determine how do we have a bigger picture, and national the — and not the narrow, quick hit.>>There are also a couple of things going on. There is who is Brandon Webber, and then there are the questions about, okay, no matter who Brandon Webber was, and what he was accused of, was this the right way for law enforcement to handle the situation.>>Right.>>Well a lot of the community members in Frayser, a lot of people outside of Brandon’s home asked the same question, is why so often, when a situation like this arises, and it involves a young black man, it’s always fatal force. So often, we see the case. When I think about, you know, Charlotte, and the church shootings, why someone like Dylann Roof was able to be apprehended. That’s a very violent situation. Why so often the young black men in similar situations aren’t able to be brought in safely.>>And I really hope during this episode, if there is anything that we take from this, I would love for Memphis to be the place that figures this out, the place that we can innovate, convene a task force, get people together to talk about our responses to stuff like this. So whoever is out there and listening, boy, it would be really great if Memphis could put its stamp on this and say we figured out how to make situations better.>>It’s part of a national dialogue. I mean, this is not uniquely a Memphis incident, in any instance whatsoever.>>In a perfect world, we would just not have instances like this where people are in, you know, just violent situations, and police don’t have to respond in this way. There’s the bigger question about our youth and how we can keep them out of situations like this.>>I mean, and if you take the narrative at face value, how does a kid who’s a great art student at Central High School, who’s a great student who did well on his ACT, enrolled in college, how does that reconcile with what he is accused of doing, that led up to this.>>And if you look at the area that this all took place, in the area where he died, there are so many other conflicting things going on. There are a number of churches in that area, as there are all across the city, there are a number of second chance programs there for ex-felons. There’s also an apartment complex not too far from there which is under one of the no gang injunctions. So there’s quite a mix of things going on in that community, and the terrain can change from one part, from one street to the next.>>And I’m not — if I’m not mistaken, with Memphis 3. O, it’s one of the anchor areas in or near Frayser, right, the city and that whole planning process identified the historical importance of Frayser, the Firestone plan is very much on everybody’s mind, and can the city get ahold of the Firestone plan which was abandoned years ago and remediate that and bring economic activity to Frayser.>>And this is the landscape in which this young man’s life unfolded and I think some of the discussion about this, you know, that personality is kind of forgotten, those conflicts, those factors in his life are forgotten because he becomes a poster child for essentially both viewpoints here.>>Just to kind of put a final point on what I was saying earlier, Brandon Webber was innocent. He was never proven guilty in a court of law. But then on the flipside of that, if he was grabbing for a rifle and put officers’ lives in danger, I don’t know how the situation went down, I’m not passing judgment on anybody, but it was just a sad episode.>>Yes. One quick question. Will we have body camera footage, do we know? Do the marshals do that?>>Don’t know about the Marshals. The Memphis Police –>>I’ve been told that apparently they do not. So there’s that.>>I want to segue, we talked about the political convention and the political season, because crime and all these things, they are political issues, they are what people look to government leaders for, but I was going to read a couple of things that Mayor Strickland had to say and Tami Sawyer, the commissioner — I’ll read a couple of things, I’m impressed by the professionalism by the first responders as they endured rocks, being spit at them, the aggression towards officers was unwarranted and this he may have said to you, Bill, about Brandon Webber, the loss of one life is tragic, and I do grieve for the loss of this young man and grieve for his family. What next for the mayor do you think? The mayor said he was going to go to Frayser and meet with community leaders. Is that what’s next?>>I think there will be ongoing dialogue about that. The Frayser Exchange Club meeting that Jared talked about is a weekly gathering that is kind of a place where all of the different organizations can come together on a weekly basis and talk about that, and there are a lot of groups doing a lot of work in Frayser, and I believe that will be where the discussion starts.>>Let me quote from Tami, most of this is on twitter, she said I can’t believe that — this is about the tear gas and we haven’t focused much on the police response. We talked to the police response to the protestors that night of the don’t judge Frayser, she said, and warning the youth over and over again, what do people do with pain and trauma when the city ignores them, the loss is too great and they can no longer yell at the sky. Tami is a County Commissioner and permanent member of — on the younger movement of politicians, and came out of the protest movement of Black Lives Matter and the bridge shutdown. I don’t know what wants to — who wants to take this, does this incident play into the Mayor’s race that’s around the corner?>>I think it does. I think that this conversation was inevitable as a part of the mayor’s race, and I think it’s now pretty much front and center in the race. There was always going to be a discussion about this as part of the mayor’s race and as part of the city elections.>>The Frayser Exchange Club meeting, there were a lot of comments about — I remember one pastor spoke specifically to his disappointment with local leaders who didn’t say enough in support of the community of Frayser and of the people who were outside hurting, and also, just Webber’s family, rather than, you know, just giving their thoughts and their prayers and their feelings towards law enforcement, local law enforcement.>>Which is lot of them were injured in this incident.>>There was an interesting discussion about that protest that night that, you know, cnn called it a maylay, and then the NAACP called it a riot on Twitter page and Tami Sawyer said that the word riot distances people from the depth of what’s occurring and allows them to turn their backs on the community expressing hurt. I think this is another step in that process that Bill was talking about earlier, how do we respond to it all, what do we call it. I think those are interesting conversations happening now.>>And you mentioned it is a good thing, a number of community leaders who went there, they got hit by rocks as well, journalists, you got gas, there was tear gas, somebody from channel three end — ended up being hospitalized, it turned out he was fine, but 20 something first responders were injured, so all that plays into this as well.>>There was a lot going on in the crowd, and any crowd like that, so while there were people throwing brick, there were also pastors who were telling — telling people to go home at the same time.>>We’ll segue, I mentioned the People’s Convention, Bill. For folks who don’t know, what is the People’s Convention, what was it, and how does that play into the mayor’s race that we’ve been talking and maybe the counselors?>>The People’s Convention has been organized by Up The Vote. It began as kind of a successor to the 1991 African-American People’s Convention that was a key part of the process that made Willie Herenton the consensus challenger to Dick Hackett in the 1991 elections this. Is the successor so that, obviously a different context for it, but it was organized by a group called up The Vote 901. Very much representative of the new generation of activism and political involvement that we we have seen over the last five years ago. The gathering at the — was at the Paradise Entertainment Center, what people know formerly as Club Paradise, drew a crowd of about 600 people, 200 of which voted electronically after hearing from candidates in different races who sought the convention’s endorsement and the slate of candidates. It’s not really a poll. It’s a gathering of of those who are politically involved who commit to do whatever they can to help get these candidates elected and at the top of the ticket is county commissioner Tami Sawyer, who is among the challengers to Jim Strickland in the race at the top of this year’s bail ot, the race for mayor.>>And Jim Strickland decided not to go, felt like it was pre-ordained that Tami was going to win, I think former Mayor Herenton said the same thing?>>To be fair.>>I talked to him at the outset and said okay, are you going to go and he said I’m going to seek any endorsement that I can get, but at the time, there was a pledge that the convention organizers scrapped later on, where they were going to require the candidates to promise that they would withdraw from the race if they didn’t get the People’s Convention and he said if that’s in place I probably won’t go. Herenton said that he thought it was impossible to repeat the importance of the ’91 convention.>>The vote for mayor and council race is when? When does early voting start, give or take?>>Early voting starts in mid September, election day is October 5, and the candidates have until noon of mid next month to file applications.>>Okay.>>And we will move on to a couple of other stories that you all have been working on as we segue out of politics and what happened in Frayser. We’ll talk about housing. It’s a strange segue and I’ll own it, but even as this happened in Frayser, even as Glen Caldwell was killed, there was echos of Phil Trenary it felt different, there’s a lot of complicated issues beyond that and why it felt different but against that is a booming economy, in Memphis, in many ways.>>That’s right.>>And housing is part of that.>>And the story that’s on the racks, on The Flyer today, it’s called Boom Town, and it is, according to some numbers I looked at. More than $14 billion of investment in Memphis, since 2014, either finished, underway, or in the pipeline, and you can see it all over town. We don’t have the cranes like downtown Nashville has, because our boom is a little bit different. We kind of go in and we renovate, we do those things kind of the Memphis way, but that boom has a lot of people worried that we will turn out to be a city like Nashville, where home prices are insane and traffic is crazy. But everybody I talked to didn’t seem to think we are really heading down that way. Home prices are up just slightly, rents are up just slightly, and it seems like there’s going to be room for everybody here. But it is exciting when you get out there and you see these developments happening all over the place. And one other growing pain out of that is some of these developers, they will go into like a classic Midtown neighborhood and kind of put up a new modern looking building, and it really sets the historic preservationist people on edge, and it’s just a part of the growing pains we are going through.>>And like in Cooper Young, you’ve got interesting issues of a kind of gentrification, streets where you’ve got houses being renovated, and listed for $300,000 plus, that are right next to houses that have been held and owned by families forever that are probably worth $50,000, and that process is interesting to watch, too. But the other part is, you did a story last week on a kind of historic building that is in the Boom Town — in this Boom Town mix.>>Absolutely. We think we should have an historic street, but in my lifetime, I was born right in sort of the onset of this revitalization of Beale Street, I was born in the early ’90s so this association of that we have of it as a center of good times wasn’t always, you know, my experience, or the experience of the people around me, but 380 Beale, which — starting the story, I had almost no clue just to how important this early history was as a cinema and how it related to Muhamed Ali and his involvement in that development. It was sort of one of the first new buildings, if I’m correct, to sort of set off some of these things that –>>Of about the new district.>>Right.>>And well, over the –>>Before the new district.>>Right. And even my days in high school, it was a nightclub, a place that people could go for high school parties, college parties and social things because it was being rented out, but it was definitely a dangerous place, and even in my days, it was thought of as sort of the older hiphop club. It wasn’t as nice as some of the ones in poverty village and Hickory Hill and so forth, but it is a mecca center, and some of the things we are being today, there would be no mecca, Oscar, without 380 Beale first, and there would be no global understanding of what jiccum was if there was not a 380 Beale first, so when you talk about Memphis and music service, which is a big part of the boom town thing, that’s one big element of it, where does hiphop fit into that, where is the place that we can go and see a plaque, same as you can go to the Chisca hotel and hear about studios, go to Graceland, go to soles — Soulsville and see STAX, go to Willie Mitchell Bar and visit royal, where does hip hop fit into that conversation, how do we move our musical tapestry forward.>>Will you tell the quick story of Muhammed Ali fighting Herenton?>>No, actually it was Congressman Harold Sr., but Muhammed Ali, as Gary turned up in research on the story was a part owner of the theater. It was originally a movie theater in the 1970s. So Muhammed Ali came to town and did an exhibition boxing match. He was still boxing at the time. And so Congressman Harold Ford, Sr., got in the ring with him, and his son, Congressman Harold Ford — future Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., was by the ring and saw his dad getting beaten up and jumped into the ring, and started taking on Muhammed Ali.>>That was blown again.>>I love that. It’s been told before but it’s a great story and great history. Thank you for being here to talk about a tough subject and thank you for listening and listen again next week.>>captioning provided by caption associates, llc


7 thoughts on “Behind the Headlines – June 14, 2019”

  • d boy get money says:

    Brandon was a good dude, I smell a Cover Up! Good coverage! Don’t let them do Memphis like this. He was in his front yard. He was innocent. The Killed him😡!!!!!!!!!!

  • @LA Show 
    Soooo the options are…..
    A: Let every killer live so the black and white guys both keep taking up space and oxygen?
    B: Hope that Victims or Police are calm and understanding enough to let you live since you're just having a bad day with a few bad decisions?
    C: Pretend that cellphone footage will stop a bullet, rather than smart actions?
    D: Print up some T-Shirt, make a few posts, say nice things at the eulogy and repeat next week.

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