Memphis city leaders spoke publicly Monday for the first time about a controversial security list. Mayor Jim Strickland told reporters he only knew about the part of the list he signed, called an authorization of agency, after people held a “die-in” at his home and looked into the windows while his family was inside.
“I talked to the director and said, ‘well maybe you’re right. Maybe we do need some more security at the house,’ and they suggested an authorization of agency. They came up with the list of names and I signed it,” said Strickland.
Strickland went on to say, the document that lists people barred from his home, was unbeknownst to him, attached to a City Hall security list that has been around since before he took office.
The City Hall security list named people who require an escort while in the building.
“I’m not in charge of security at City Hall. Now that I know about it, I’ve asked the police director to review it,” said Strickland.
The mayor said he was concerned about the potential effect required security escorts could have on citizens. However, Strickland said no changes will be made to the list until Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings is done reviewing the entire security process.
Some people on that authorization of agency, who according to the list also need a police escort at City Hall, want an explanation.
The list included names like Devante Hill who organized last summer’s bridge protest, Paul Garner with Mid-South Peace and Justice who campaigned for the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, former University of Memphis basketball player Detric Golden, and inventor Fergus Nolan. All four men said they were not at the die-in.
“Individuals on the authorization of agency were believed to be affiliated with the die-in assembly but after further review it appears some names were listed in error,” said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings in a Youtube video posted Monday.
Rallings admitted mistakes were made and but their priority is safety.
“Once we have completed our review and as deemed necessary those names that should not be included will be removed again peace and safety are our primary concerns,” said Rallings.
In the video, Rallings also emphasized that no one has been banned from City Hall.
The American Civil Liberties Union announced Monday they are ready to step in for some people on the list who feel their first amendment rights are being violated.
A protest against the security list is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon outside City Hall.