The Memphis Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board at an Aug. 2020 meeting. (Photo: Facebook)
Kleston Beverly of Memphis was sitting in his vehicle when he was suddenly forcibly thrown out onto the ground, surrounded by police officers in riot gear.
On Thursday, he entered a formal complaint against officer Kerry Moody in front of Memphis’ Civilian Law Enforcement Review (CLERB) Board, an 13-person independent agency tasked with investigating allegations of police brutality.
Police footage of the incident showed officers responding to a riot that ensued after the 2019 killing of Brandon Webber, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot multiple times by federal officers. Holding shields and charging against a hail of rocks and bricks from rioters, officers quickly confronted Beverly, who was waiting in a van for his brother to run errands. After he was immobilized on the ground, Moody punched Beverly several times before another officer asked him to stop.
“I put my hands up. I didn’t have weapons. I had no gun, I didn’t have anything on me. By the time the door flew open, I was snatched out and thrown to the ground. I was roughed up,” said Beverly.
Beverly was charged with resisting arrest, despite other officers contradicting that report. Eventually he was let go but said he was injured during the incident, including being stepped on and beaten while in handcuffs.
Beverly’s brother was also involved in the incident but was not present during Thursday’s proceedings.
While a certain amount of force is warranted in these situations, said Michael Lonesome-Entrye, a U.S. Navy engineering detailer, the incident highlights how Black males are treated in police investigations in contrast to others of a different race and gender.
“I can see that logic,” said the Reverend Willie Ward Jr., a member of CLERB. “But if I am unarmed, you’re armed, I’m by myself and there are multiple other people around me, then any force is unnecessary. If I’m on the ground and I’m still being struck, it’s excessive, because the question is not ‘Did you hurt me?’ It’s ‘Why are you hitting me?’”
Shawn Lynch, an attorney remarked that this was the third complaint in a row that the board received about people being forcibly removed from their cars.
CLERB voted 10-1 in favor of sustaining Beverly’s complaint and will recommend that the Memphis police chief, the mayor and the city council take remedial action.
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