by: Jordan James
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the Department of Justice investigates the Memphis Police Department, a former recruit is speaking out about what he describes as a toxic work environment before he could even get a badge.
The former recruit’s grievances with MPD go back to 2021, which is the year he submitted his resignation papers. He says there’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t think about his experience.
“I never forgot any of the things I went through,” the former recruit said. “There are some good officers there, but the bad officers outshine them and so it really needs to be something done about those bad officers.”
Over a few months, the man claims to have witnessed and experienced multiple instances of discrimination against race and religion.
“Some of them have a master-slave mentality,” he said. “It’s very belittling and I just couldn’t deal with it. Seeing how they treat other black people was a big issue. They didn’t ever talk to the white officers the way they speak to the black officers.”
These past allegations come at a time when the DOJ is investigating MPD after receiving multiple complaints of excessive force, making improper stops, and racial disparities, which prompted them to investigate their pattern and practices.
“We look forward to working together with the city and police department toward the shared goals of ensuring constitutional and non-discriminatory policing and promoting greater cooperation between law enforcement officers and the community,” said Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General.
A big part of the DOJ’s investigation will include getting input from the community about their experiences with MPD, which the former recruit plans on doing as he looks to put this chapter behind him.
“Some people do choose to be officers because they really do want to make an honest living and they do want to make Memphis a better place but it’s hard for them to do that when the majority don’t have that same mindset,” the former recruit said.
WREG has reached out to MPD for comment and they released a statement saying,
“We will allow the DOJ to make the determination concerning our training and department culture.”
On August 1 from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., the DOJ is holding a public Zoom information session for the public to share their experiences with MPD. Sign up here.
They can also be contacted through email at Community.Memphis@usdoj.gov or leave a message at 888-473-3730.