Woman arrested during protest claims Memphis police used excessive force, review board rules against her

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Barbara Buress went before the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board Thursday to have her case involving excessive force from Memphis police officers looked over. In the end, the board agreed excessive force was not used.

Buress was a protester at a rally for the officer-involved shooting of Martavious Banks during a traffic stop in September. She was arrested after she said she did not hear officers telling her to move off of the street and said officers tackled her which lead to her suffering a concussion.

Buress, along with a few other protesters, were arrested on Elvis Presley Boulevard where the rally happened.

Banks’ case was highly controversial because leading up to the shooting the officers turned off their body cameras and he was shot in the back. He survived the shooting and was later indicted on charges stemming before the incident.

CLERB board member Nick Bragorgos said the board took time to view the video footage numerous times, listened to witness testimony from both sides, and examined the evidence closely.

“What we saw in the video, very simply put, was the police walked up to her, were in the street, and there was traffic in the street and they walked up toward her and she turned and ran from them, ran around a car, and ran back toward them and she and police officer collided with each other,” Bragorgos said.

Buress, along with witnesses from the protest, told the board she felt that she was wrongly apprehended and aggressively handled.

“Based on what we saw, we really felt like the police hadn’t done anything wrong and this situation was very volatile to begin with, and we felt like it was highly emotional and the police acted the best they could in the situation,” Bragorgos said.

In one of the MPD body cam videos of the incident, you can hear Buress telling officers she had a gun on her and that she has a license to carry.

She told CLERB she is a “law abiding citizen.”

“I have a clean record, just like every one of you, before all of this,” Buress said. “I was proud of my record.”

At the time of her arrest, she was charged with obstructing a highway, disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, assault, and evading arrest. All charges were dropped except for obstructing a highway.

“I’m not a gun toting, police brutalizing, 130 pound black woman, thug, that’s not me,” Buress said.

Buress brought her bedazzled megaphone to the meeting to show the board how heavy it was when she was knocked to the ground.

Theryn C. Bond was a witness of the incident between Buress and MPD and spoke at the meeting on behalf of Buress.

She became emotional during the board meeting when the video of the incident was shown.

“Now, almost a year later we’re here trying to get some form of justice on some level of this situation,” Bond said. “We’re still not there yet on any facet of the matter.”

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