NAACP, ACLU have questions about deadly shooting involving US marshals

NAACP, ACLU have questions about deadly shooting involving US marshals
A large crowd gathered outside the scene of the shooting before protests broke out. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The NAACP Memphis Branch and the ACLU are asking investigators for more information about the deadly shooting of Brandon Webber.

Webber, 20, was killed Wednesday evening by members of the U.S. Marshal Service - Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force, prompting a major protest and violence against police officers.

Man shot, killed by U.S. Marshals

In a statement Thursday, Deidre Malone with the NAACP Memphis Branch said it was making a formal inquiry with law enforcement officials regarding Webber’s shooting. Specifically, the group asked if marshals wore body cameras during their encounter with Webber who investigators say rammed their car and got out of his own vehicle with a gun.

The U.S. Marshal Service said earlier Thursday that federal agents do not wear body cameras in accordance with Department of Justice policies.

The NAACP Memphis Branch and ACLU executive director Hedy Weinberg asked similar questions of whether there was a better way to engage Webber or an attempt to de-escalate the situation before shots were fired.

Weinberg also wants to know how many times Webber was shot, citing rumors of more than a dozen times.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting and so far has not released any information regarding how many marshals fired or how many times Webber was shot.

Weinberg said in a statement that the ACLU doesn’t condone violence against police, but the chaotic situation was a “consequence of decades of injustice, discrimination and violence against black people in Memphis and beyond.” She criticized police response and the donning of protective gear as they tried to maintain control of the crowd.

“Responding with a militarized show of police force only illustrates and reinforces the problem,” said Weinberg.

Webber was wanted on felony warrants out of Hernando, Mississippi. Prosecutor John Champion says Webber was suspected of shooting a man five times and stealing his car.

Memphis police officers were not involved in Webber’s shooting but responded when the crowd grew and became violent. In total, 36 officers and sheriff’s deputies were injured in the ensuing violence. Police also say 15 of their vehicles were damaged as well as three Shelby County Sheriff’s Office vehicles and five vehicles from other agencies.

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