The family of a Black woman who was handcuffed in West Memphis, Arkansas, while mourning the sudden loss of her four-year-old daughter, are calling for police accountability.
(Richard Brookshire, Twitter)
As we previously reported, on Monday a Twitter user named Richard Brookshire shared a thread describing what transpired on Sunday when his sister, Shawnda Brookshire, was detained by police after they told her they were investigating a string of car break-ins near the hotel.
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Shawnda’s four-year-old daughter, Nia, was killed on Saturday in a car accident and she was standing in the parking lot of a La Quinta Inn to take a mental health break after running errands relating to the funeral service. After a line of questioning while asking her to produce ID, which was upstairs at the time, the interactions quickly escalated.
Richard, a campaign manager for Isaiah James who is running for New York’s 9th Congressional District, told WREG that his sister was not protected nor served by the local police.
“The West Memphis Police Department owes my family an apology, they owe my sister an apology, and they should be ashamed of themselves,” Richard told WREG.
Brookshire’s mother Natacha spoke with Fox 13 Memphis, where she explained the terror in her heart after watching her daughter rendered helpless.
“Those officers dealing with it right at that time, they had no idea what was going on, they just knew they pulled up on someone, and she was immediately belligerent, so why? Why is she acting like this,” explained Langston.
Natacha said that when she questioned the officers they said Shawnda was a person of interest because she was screaming in the parking lot and wearing a hoodie.
“I knew what I was seeing. I understood exactly what was going on. I had no doubt in my mind what was going on. I understood I was living racism in action,” said Natacha.
The family maintains that they will seek some sort of legal action in the matter, according to Fox 13 Memphis.
However, the West Memphis Police Department maintains they were called to the scene because of the reported break-ins.
“They were on those hotel lots because hotel management is coming to us and saying we’re having an issue here,” Assistant Chief Robert Langston told WREG. “We’re having break-ins in our area. We’re having people travel through and want to make sure our property is safe.”
Last night, @westmemphispd cops accosted and attempted to arrest my grieving sister for STANDING OUTSIDE OF OUR HOTEL AND MOURNING THE LOSS OF HER DEAD DUAGHTER. Threw her to the ground, put her in handcuffs and put their knee on her back, before throwing her in a police car.
— Richard Brookshire (@crtv_drctr) November 18, 2019
In a now deleted Facebook post, the department issued an apology:
“The West Memphis Police Department would like to express our condolences for this family’s loss. It is an extremely tragic situation and we understand the stress that this family is dealing with. Our officers were simply trying to patrol this parking lot, at the request of management, in an attempt to protect the property of people as they traveled through our area. This is an unfortunate event that could have easily been prevented.”
Authorities believe the officers acted within their full authority and will not be seeking disciplinary action according to WREG. Earlier this week, the department released footage from the confrontation.
On Wednesday Richard thanked Black news outlets for covering the story. As we know, many of the injustices facing Black people in America go under or unreported.
It’s been difficult to get even a mention on national news, but outlets like @Blavity @TheRoot @MadameNoire @newsone @Essence have all given space to cover my sister’s tragedy and the atrocious encounter she had with @westmemphispd Shoutout to black folk – we got us. 💛
— Richard Brookshire (@crtv_drctr) November 20, 2019
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